The Raiders have satisfied the NFL’s Rooney Rule, a source said Thursday, requiring NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for general manager and head coach positions.
ESPN’s Josina Anderson first reported the news, stating the Raiders had interviewed two minority candidates. She also reports that the NFL told John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, an organization polices whether the NFL abides by the law, that the requirement has been met.
NFL reporter Adam Caplan said Raiders tight ends coach Bobby Johnson was one. Johnson coached his position all three years under Jack Del Rio and was well respected among his position group and the offensive line. Del Rio’s assistants have been told they can look for work elsewhere.
The Raiders have come under some fire for having a coach virtually lined up before the hiring process truly began, though they aren’t the first team to lock on to a candidate and beeline for him.
The Silver and Black have pioneered minority hiring in the NFL. The late owner Al Davis hired the a Hispanic head coach (Tom Flores), the first African-American head coach (Art Shell) and the first female CEO (Amy Trask).
The Rooney Rule has its critics, and it could certainly be amended to ensure minority candidates get a fairer shake, but having that requirement is better than not having one at all. In this particular instance, though, any candidate will have a near-impossible task shaking the job from Gruden’s grasp.
“I think the Raiders’ situation was a little different than it normally is because number one, it’s very obvious they were talking to Gruden - and they had every right - before the season was over,” Wooten told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Because Gruden is not a part of the league, so consequently they’re not in any violation by talking to him at any time about the possibility of a job opening.
“Secondly, this is not new where guys are interviewed and they don’t want it to be known who they are. We don’t push the league for names.”