Fritz Pollard Alliance Wants NFL To Investigate Whether Raiders Violated Rooney Rule
The Fritz Pollard Alliance has called for the NFL to investigate whether the Raiders "violated the 'Rooney Rule' when they hired Jon Gruden as coach," according to Josh Dubow of the AP. Fritz Pollard Alliance counsel Cyrus Mehri and N. Jeremi Duru said that they were concerned that Raiders Owner Mark Davis "came to an agreement with Gruden before the team interviewed any minority candidates," which has been required by the NFL since '03. Davis at Tuesday's news conference introducing Gruden said that he had been trying to lure the team's former coach back "for six years and finally believed it would happen after a meeting in Philadelphia on Christmas Eve, the day before Gruden worked a game between the Raiders and Eagles on ESPN." Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie said that he "interviewed two minority candidates before Gruden’s hiring was announced" (AP, 1/10). Mehri said, "If in December, Gruden and Davis reach an agreement -- not necessarily a written, contractual agreement, but a verbal agreement -- that Gruden was going to coach for the Raiders, and then after that they do these interviews with minority coaches, that would be a violation of the Rooney Rule" (ESPN.com, 1/10). ESPN's Max Kellerman said, "The reason they haven't satisfied the rule is because (it was) a superficial treatment, a superficial interview, an interview that doesn't really mean anything. If those candidates don't actually have a chance at the job, it doesn't actually satisfy the rule" ("First Take," ESPN, 1/11).
FACING A DECISION: NBC's Mike Florio notes the NFL has a "dilemma," as it likes to "trumpet the notion that the Rooney Rule is at the forefront of American industry." Florio: "What will the NFL do about it? Will the NFL choose to enforce the rules aggressively with the Raiders, or will the NFL choose to look the other way?" ("PFT," NBCSN, 1/11). FS1's Skip Bayless said, "It has to be enforced and it has to have teeth. The only way for it to have teeth is to punish the Raiders now, even though the painful irony was they were the trendsetter before the Rooney Rule” (“Undisputed,” FS1, 1/11). USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell writes NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "needs to be ready to levy" a penalty around $1M and the "loss of a first-round draft pick" if the team in fact violated the rule. Davis' own words "seemingly confirmed what was widely speculated, that the Raiders made a mockery of the Rooney Rule" (USA TODAY, 1/11).