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NFL News and Notes: Diversity is Still an Issue Around the League


The year is 2020 and the word diversity is still a big problem in our world as well as in the world of sports. The NFL is one of those leagues that keeps a black eye for its lack of minorities in roles like head coaches, GM’s and front office positions. Women are also in this group of people not being given enough opportunities across the league.

Yesterday, the NFL announced new policies aimed at making changes to current anti-tampering policies that the team’s use to deny these folks the chance to get one of these jobs. If there is any conflict or dispute to be settled, Roger Goodell will make the final decision.

“The NFL is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, which I believe is critical to our continued success,” Goodell said in a statement. “While we have seen positive strides in our coaching ranks over the years aided by the Rooney Rule, we recognize, after the last two seasons, that we can and must do more. The policy changes made today are bold and demonstrate the commitment of our ownership to increase diversity in leadership positions throughout the league.”

Some of the changes include interviewing one minority candidate outside of the organization for positions like GM and senior operations. Another change is to the Rooney Rule requiring teams to interview two minority candidates for head coaching jobs and one for a coordinator job.

Troy Vincent, executive vice president of football operations for the NFL, stated that the league has a broken system.

It was over 30 years ago when 49ers head coach, Bill Walsh, invited minority coaches to training camp. He admitted that he was frustrated with the lack of diversity back then.

That was 32 years ago and we are still having this conversation today. As a minority myself, that really bugs the hell out of me. Why? Because all you hear from sports teams, individuals, and our government is how they want to include minorities. But after six decades on this earth, I have yet to see a real ground-breaking effort. All I hear is a lot of talk and little to no action.

Oh, there has been a list of black head coaches through the years like Art Shell, Dennis Green, Ray Rhodes, Tony Dungy and Herm Edwards back in those Walsh days. The Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Coaching Fellowship also produced names like Mike Tomlin, Anthony Lynn, Marvin Lewis, Lovie Smith, Hue Jackson, and Raheem Morris.

But if you look at the NFL today, what do you see as far as minority head coaches? You got Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh, Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins, Anthony Lynn with the Los Angeles Chargers, and Ron Rivera with the Carolina Panthers. A short list, to say the least.

How do we get to that point where minorities in sports is not even an afterthought anymore? When will be the right time for teams to realize that whites are not the only ones that have the talent to coach and be leaders in their organizations?

The NFL, as well as all other sports, went through this phase when there were no minority players at all. If you look at the NFL Hall of Fame, you see plenty of those players that have been enshrined. If the league would stop this madness of not including minorities and hire them, how many do you think will be in Canton in the future? I think we all know the answer to that question already.

In 2015, Jen Welter was hired by the Arizona Cardinals as a training camp and preseason intern. She was the pioneer of women coaches in the NFL. Today, there are four women coaching in the league.

Other pioneers are Katie Sowers, an assistant offensive coach with the 49ers, became the first woman to coach in the Super Bowl. Kathryn Smith was the first to be given a full-time position in 2016 with the Buffalo Bills.

Sports are meant to be enjoyed by people of all races and backgrounds. I mean, teams have no problem accepting monies for tickets from people of color. The time has come and passed for owners to change their mentality on minorities. Hell, the time has come and passed for the entire world to change their way of thinking when it comes to minorities.

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