by Patrick Freeman
The Mighty O’Ba Sports Report
The National Football League considers itself on the cutting edge of fairness in regards to coaching, management, and of course players. The league which is dominated on the field by people of color also has seen an increase in front office opportunities in recent years. Certainly the most popular sport in the United States should be applauded by its implementation of the Rooney rule as a guide line for minimum standard interview practices but I have still noticed just a couple of things that are still very troubling.
The first issue that I have is at the end of each year when owners and General Managers are seeking to fill head coaching vacancies, and the protocol is usually the league winning coordinators are the top candidates. This of course is unless the best coordinators are African-American then they are just fulfilling the Rooney Rule requirement. This seems to be the usual circumstance each year when I see Jerry Gray’s name on the short list of interviews. Coach Gray has coached top defensive units in Buffalo , Washington , and once again in Tennessee , but it seems he’s just a token interview to keep NFL teams in compliance with its interview requirements. Dennis Allen, Chuck Pagano, and Mike Mularkey all were successful coordinators in the NFL 2011-2012, but Perry Fewell has done one of the best jobs a coordinator can have under the most extreme circumstances in New York City. How in the world is he excluded from being a top candidate during a year that his team makes the Super Bowl?
My second issue falls on African -American General Managers in the NFL. Why does it seem that when a Black is in charge you just about guarantee they will not hire a person of color? Maybe in the NBA but not in professional football even if the top person is a person of color they are not in most cases even considered as a long shot candidate. This to me reflects on the fact that though strides have been made across the board in the NFL there is still a long way to go to achieve a real level playing field in the sport of opportunity.
By the time you read this, Freeman will be in Indianapolis covering Superbowl week.
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