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Volume 25 No. 199
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Fritz Pollard Alliance Surprised No Minority Coaches Hired Yet

Eric Bieniemy was initially thought to be a head coaching target for many NFL teams
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The Bengals are nearing a deal to hire Rams assistant Zac Taylor as their coach, leaving the Dolphins as the last of eight NFL teams changing coaches this offseason "to prevent the shutout" of minority candidates, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The "lack of diversity in these hires is striking" ("Get Up," ESPN, 1/11). In Miami, Armando Salguero reports the Fritz Pollard Alliance has been "surprised" that no minority coach "has been tapped during the current hiring cycle." FPA Chair John Wooten is not necessarily "happy with how things have transpired so far." Wooten said, "I'm very much surprised at some of the hirings that have been done so far. Like anything else, different people like different things." Salguero notes the FPA annually "supplies the NFL with a list of minority candidates it believes worthy of consideration for open jobs." Wooten said, "We thought there would be probably four (minority) possibilities particular teams would go for. The surprise, if you could call it that, was the Arizona hiring. That was a little bit surprising." However, he does feel comfortable that all of the coaching searches have had a "diversity of interviews" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 1/10). The Undefeated’s Jason Reid acknowledged the hiring cycle has not been “very good for the Rooney Rule.” Reid: "The rule is just saying that you have to have an open mind, have an open process in bringing these people in. But eventually if they're not getting hired, that's a problem" (“OTL,” ESPN, 1/10).

SHAME GAME: USA TODAY's Nancy Armour writes it is time to "call what's going on in the NFL for what it really is." Armour: "Over the last two weeks, we've seen certain coaches get jobs and interviews while others are given a once-over -- maybe -- and told better luck next time. The only difference being the color of their skin." NFL owners are "due every bit of criticism and condemnation coming their way." Owners are "fine having black and brown men on their teams," but it rarely gets to the point where they "would hire someone of color to run those teams, be it on the field or in the front office." Armour: "Year after year, the problem persists, and it's shameful" (USA TODAY, 1/11). The AP's Tim Dahlberg notes just one black coach has been hired in the last two years, which is a "troubling trend in a league dominated by black players." Dahlberg: "Cyclical or not, that’s not the number envisioned by the NFL when the Rooney Rule was put in 16 years ago" (AP, 1/9). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Darin Gantt wrote the problem "remains systemic." With the "majority of head coaching hires going to offensive assistants, and the vast majority of those jobs being held by non-minorities, the lack of options in the pipeline will only exacerbate what is already a significant problem" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 1/10).