The Fritz Pollard Alliance issued a scathing reaction Monday to the NFL’s most recent coaching hires, saying the league’s “abysmal record of hiring people of color in high ranking levels of NFL management” is the result of a “flawed system” that must be changed.
The Alliance, an independent organization that works with the NFL to champion diversity, called on the league to “develop specific diversity action plans to improve diversity in all aspects of management.”
Five teams have filled their head-coaching positions during the past two weeks, but only one was a minority: new Washington Redskins coach Ron Rivera. Only three of the past 20 coaching hires were minorities, and there are currently four black head coaches in the league. The 2019 NFL racial and gender report card, issued by the University of Central Florida, said that NFL minority hiring is at its worst in the past 15 years.
According to the Alliance, 70.1% of NFL players are minorities. There is only one black general manager and no black team presidents.
“We are in a battle for social justice,” the statement read. “The current system of hiring and promoting talent into the upper levels of NFL management is a flawed system. We cannot expect fairness if business remains status quo. Our focus must shift from counting emblematic victories each year to calling for measurable initiatives that support sustainable progress.”
The NFL’s Rooney Rule requires every team to interview a qualified minority candidate for head-coaching jobs, but it does not affect the hiring decisions of owners. The Alliance called on the NFL to recognize that devotion to diversity can bring “profound good” to the game and would embrace “a belief that the benefactors who contribute to the business of football should also share in the benefits. It embraces a core belief that the Game should be accessible at every level for those that possess the skills and who have the resources to meet their aspirations.”