- Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday
- ‘Top Gun’ for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy’s approval
- Bill Clinton to endorse Charlie Rangel for re-election
- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
- L.A. sheriff admits to testing flyover spy program without notifying residents
- Foreign minister vows response if Russians are attacked in Ukraine
- Robert Griffin III to drive pace car before Richmond NASCAR race
- Material on Australian shore examined in jet hunt
FENNO: Minority candidates need more from NFL
Disappointment clouds John Wooten’s voice. The 76-year-old chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance believes the NFL has a problem, one that has nothing to do with the 34-minute power outage during the Super Bowl or debate swirling around President Obama’s comments questioning football’s long-term safety.
Since the regular season ended in December, eight head coaches and seven general managers were hired.
None were minorities.
“We think this thing is out of whack,” said Wooten, who played nine seasons on the offensive lines of the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins from 1959-68.
More than anything, Wooten is baffled. And, really, you can’t blame him.
Four minority head coaches remain in the NFL (in addition to five general managers) after Lovie Smith and Romeo Crennel were dismissed. A team hasn’t hired a minority head coach from outside the organization since the Pittsburgh Steelers brought on Mike Tomlin in 2007.
The league had just two minority offensive coordinators last season, including Jim Caldwell of the Baltimore Ravens, promoted from quarterbacks coach when Cam Cameron was fired following the Week 14 loss to the Washington Redskins.
This isn’t just an NFL issue. Entering the 2012 season, just 18 of the 120 the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision universities had minority head coaches.
The Rooney Rule, instituted in 2003, requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority for each head coach and senior football operations opening. Each of the 15 searches fully complied with the rule, the NFL confirmed, leaving it as well-intentioned window dressing.
Credulity is strained to believe there wasn’t one qualified, hirable minority among those 15 openings.
The NFL, already dogged by a season of litigation and off-field controversy, agreed in a statement that said the whitewash was “unexpected” and “reflect[ed] a disappointing lack of diversity.” Between dousing fires about football’s safety issue in New Orleans last week, commissioner Roger Goodell called the situation “unacceptable.”
Smith’s firing after leading the Chicago Bears to a 10-6 season and a 81-63 record (that would rank 11th among active NFL head coaches) since 2004 sparked Wooten’s concern. That concern only grew. Three teams interviewed Smith for their vacant head coach positions. Each passed on Smith in favor of two college coaches and an offensive coordinator.
“It’s hard for me to believe he was fired in Chicago,” Wooten said. “It’s even harder for me to believe that even one of [the teams that interviewed him], based on what their teams are, wouldn’t hire him.”
At least Smith landed an interview.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Declassified cables from Berlin Wall tell tale of drama, dare,
- Judge denies settlement motion in NFL concussion lawsuit
- Jay Gruden's long and winding road to Washington
- FENNO: Championship game provides an opportunity to listen to those who play
- FENNO: For Redskins, nonsensical is the new normal
Latest Blog Entries
Feds who send arms against ranch families betray American values
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- Georgia governor signs bill expanding gun rights
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Opposition rising to Colorado gun control laws
- Professor apologizes after blasting Republicans in class
- Harry Reid using tax dollars to fight Koch brothers, La. GOP chair charges
- Ukraine claims torture by pro-Russian forces on the heels of Biden's stern warning to Moscow
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014