What’s black and white and red all over? A blushing zebra and a newspaper. But the biggest punch line is no laughing matter. It’s what the NFL should be, but isn’t: red-faced with embarrassment over its racist mandate to interview minority candidates for coaching positions.
The “Rooney Rule” was decreed by the League in 2003, requiring teams to interview at least one “minority” candidate when hiring a head coach. Not satisfied, the NFL expanded it to include general managers.
But that’s still not enough for Commissioner Roger Goodell, who’s throwing a penalty flag because the Rule didn’t meet League expectations this year, as none of the coaching and general manager openings were filled by minorities.
“We were disappointed," he said. "We think that some of the changes we are making [will] make sure we get the right candidates better training . . . That is going to be the best way to pay dividends."
Pay dividends? Really? And all along I thought it was the fans who paid the dividends. You know, the billions they shell out in tickets, parking, food, merchandise, and cable each year, all for the privilege of watching games in stadiums often paid for by taxpayers.
It’s bad enough Goodell is ruining the game by instituting rules that kill the essence of football, but now he wants to further his social engineering by stamping the “diversity” imprimatur like never before. Where will it end? And will any owners have the cojones to shove it back at the league?
The answer to the second question is easy: “No.” Billionaire owners have no testicular fortitude. They have their money, and just want to be liked, refusing to make waves even when they disagree with league policy. So they continue to get pushed aside by a league that doesn’t produce anything.
No one tunes in to watch executives. They watch NFL teams. And since those teams produce billions, it should be the owners, not Goodell, calling the shots. But they don’t.
There is now talk of bringing coordinators and position coaches under the rule. So don’t be surprised if eventually the rule becomes a mandate to hire minorities.
Remember that the impetus behind expanding the rule is this year’s lack of minority hires. Ignored is that teams in seven of the last 10 Super Bowls had either a minority head coach or GM. So Goodell’s new plan sounds more like diversity for the sake of political correctness than actually helping minorities.
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie weighed in, stating that the level of minority coaches in college could improve. But to what end? There are 124 Division I-A football teams, of which 18 had black head coaches last year (15 percent). The census reveals that 13 percent of Americans are black. So what is Lurie’s point? Should college and pro teams hire more black coaches than their percentage of the population just to make a point? Is discrimination OK as long as it isn’t directed against “minorities”?
The league doesn’t understand that fans don’t care about skin color, as they are partial only to championship gold. Teams aren’t stupid. They will hire the best and the brightest, regardless of race. So why invent a problem when there isn’t one?
The Rooney Rule is demeaning to minority candidates, and a colossal time waster. Team executives now go through the motions with a minority candidate (knowing their decision has already been made) just to satisfy the league’s diversity whims.
Instead of uniting, the Rooney Rule divides. Instead of equality, it promotes special privilege based on color. Instead of building upon the American spirit of competitiveness and achievement, it robs all candidates of dignity and respect.
Our civil rights battle is being callously used to advance political agendas. Sadly, we are coming full circle: separate and unequal; separate but equal; equal; and now separate again. That’s not why so many laid down their lives, and it’s certainly not what Martin Luther King advocated.
Dr. King had a dream where people would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. The Rooney Rule is anathema to that dream.
Forty years ago, not only was it inconceivable that a President would be black, but that he would eulogize a Ku Klux Klansman. But in a nod to the tolerance the civil rights movement achieved, that’s exactly what happened, when Barack Obama spoke at Senator Robert Byrd’s funeral. Only in America.
It is time to build upon the successes of Dr. King by living in a color-blind society, remembering that the only “race” that matters is the one we all belong to —- the most important of all —- the human race.
The NFL should punt the Rooney Rule. If it doesn’t, race relations will take a sack.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.
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