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Black NFL coaches win in addition to White coaches but face more hurdles to getting and holding the job, Washington Post finds



Black NFL head coaches repeatedly perform about in addition to White NFL head coaches yet face significant hurdles to getting and keeping their jobs, in accordance with a Washington Post evaluation published Wednesday.

Titled “How the NFL Blocks Black Coaches,” the in-depth story examines the short history of Black NFL coaches, dating to when Art Shell was hired by the Los Angeles Raiders in 1989 as the primary Black head coach in modern history. Since then, there have been 191 people hired as head coaches, yet just 24 have been Black – a “glaring shortcoming” for a league wherein a majority of the players are Black, the Post notes.

This season, there are three Black head coaches: Todd Bowles of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Lovie Smith of the Houston Texans and Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers. That is similar variety of Black head coaches as in 2003, when the NFL – facing pressure for its lack of representation – introduced a latest policy generally known as the “Rooney Rule” requiring teams to interview no less than one candidate of color for head coach and front office jobs.

The Rooney Rule was recently updated, partly, to require teams to interview no less than two external minority candidates for open head coach positions.

The Post interviewed 16 of the 24 Black coaches and features three many years value of information evaluation, graphs, videos and more explaining the hurdles Black coaches face.

“It looks like the standards moves,” Leslie Frazier, former head coach of the Minnesota Vikings – who was fired a 12 months after taking the team to the playoffs – and is now the defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills, told the Post. “One week, or one 12 months, it’s ‘We would like an offensive-minded guy.’ One other 12 months: ‘We would like a man with a Super Bowl-winning background.’ What’s the standards? Sometimes it’s because he’s ‘an awesome leader.’ Sometimes it’s because he ‘got here up the identical way I got here up.’ However the common theme … is [an owner is going] to rent someone that appears like that owner.”

The difficulty was highlighted in February when Brian Flores, the previous Miami Dolphins head coach, filed a lawsuit against the NFL and three teams alleging racial discrimination. Flores, who’s Black, said in his lawsuit that the Latest York Giants and Denver Broncos interviewed him for his or her vacant head coaching job under disingenuous circumstances to be in compliance with the Rooney Rule.

Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks and longtime NFL assistant Ray Horton joined Flores’ lawsuit in April, similarly alleging discriminatory conduct.

The NFL called the allegations within the lawsuit meritless. “The NFL and our clubs are deeply committed to making sure equitable employment practices and proceed to make progress in providing equitable opportunities throughout our organizations,” the league said in an announcement. “Diversity is core to the whole lot we do, and there are few issues on which our clubs and our internal leadership team spend more time.”

The Dolphins, Broncos and Giants have also denied wrongdoing.

In response to the lawsuit, the NFL and teams have filed a motion to maneuver the case to arbitration and stay further court proceedings, in accordance with court documents.

In response to the Posts’ findings, Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vp of football operations, told the Post, “At the tip of the day, we don’t make the hires.”

“We’ve exhausted ourselves with programs, initiatives, ensuring that [owners] are aware of who’s on the market [as candidates]. But we don’t make the hire. And so it’s been a difficult challenge for us, but we’ve got to maintain pushing. And we imagine that what we’re doing is the suitable thing until hearts change,” he said.

The Post story identified several key issues Black coaches are forced to tackle. It focuses on the shortcomings of the Rooney Rule and highlights comments from Black coaches who say they got sham interviews in order that teams comply with the rule.

As well as, teams have increasingly hired coaches who previously served as offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach, yet from 1999-2021, 86% of the offensive quarterback jobs were filled by White coaches, the Post writes.

Black coaches also “languish” as assistants and position coaches before becoming head coaches. “The Black men who became NFL head coaches previously decade, on average, had spent greater than nine years longer than their White counterparts in mid-level assistant jobs and three years fewer as coordinators,” the paper reports.

Finally, even after they are hired, they’re held to the next standard and winning doesn’t necessarily save them, the Post wrote.

“Since 1990, a Black head coach who wins no less than nine games and a White coach who wins no less than six have roughly the identical likelihood of being fired,” the evaluation found.

CNN has reached out to the NFL for comment.

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