It’s not exactly a secret that the Rooney Rule is trash. But now the argument can be made that after its latest policy update, it’s somehow even more worthless for the same minority candidates it was designed to benefit in the first place.
Enacted in 2003, the Rooney Rule’s intended purpose was to increase diversity in the NFL within the head coaching and general manager ranks by requiring teams to interview at least one minority candidate prior to filling those vacant positions. But in reality, all these teams end up doing is trotting in qualified Black candidates solely to meet the requirements of the policy, only to hire the same white dude they always wanted in the first place. It’s no different than walking into a car dealership, knowing you want a Kia Rio and test driving a Tesla only because the car salesman keeps harassing you about it—only to leave in the Kia.
It’s dehumanizing, it’s degrading, it’s a complete waste of fucking time, and it’s a microcosm of what it means to be Black in America.
Aside from Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who the NFL has gone to great lengths to prevent from becoming a head coach, one of the best examples of how much of the Rooney Rule is a joke is ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, who’s been on enough sham NFL interviews to file fraud charges against LinkedIn.
It’s abundantly clear that the rule doesn’t work—since 2003, there’ve been 108 head coaching vacancies and only 21 of them were filled with minority candidates—and is in dire need of a drastic overhaul, and per ESPN, the latest changes to the Rooney Rule only appear to increase the amount of embarrassment that minority candidates will incur each hiring cycle:
The NFL has instituted some policy changes to the Rooney Rule designed to further enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in hiring practices.
The rule has been expanded to require teams to interview at least two external minority candidates for general manager/executive of football operations positions and all coordinator roles. Beforehand, the requirement was to interview one minority candidate from outside a team for openings in those positions.
NFL clubs now must conduct an in-person interview for at least one external minority candidate for any head coach or general manager opening. All coordinator and assistant general manager candidates can be interviewed virtually, but in-person interviews are being encouraged.
“It’s about how can we ensure the pipeline is strong with minority coaches, and overall. Ensuring everyone gets an opportunity, a look,” Jonathan Beane, the NFL’s senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer, said. “When you have a diverse slate and have more than one minority or diverse candidate [...] the chance of a candidate being interviewed who is diverse goes up exponentially. Maximize the opportunities, and we also wanted to make sure there wasn’t a case where there was only one candidate who is diverse who is being interviewed. Research shows a lot of times there could be bias in the opportunity for that person to get hired and have a role.”
If the NFL wasn’t already hiring qualified minority candidates in the first place, in favor of hiring their underqualified white counterparts, what difference does this even make?
This rule change is complete trash and was only made to stave off the perception that the NFL doesn’t do enough to promote diversity and inclusion—which is still 100 percent true.