The NFL reportedly is considering a radical approach to its oft-criticized "Rooney Rule."
The league plans to have NFL owners vote on a proposal next Tuesday that would incentivize clubs to hire minority head coaches and general managers by rewarding them with improved draft positions for doing so, NFL.com's Jim Trotter reported Friday.
Here's how that reward system would work, per Trotter:
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- If a team hires a minority head coach, its third-round pick in the following year's NFL Draft would move up six spots.
- If a team hires a minority "primary football executive" (i.e. GM) that third-round pick would move up 10 spots.
- If a team fills both of its head coach and GM vacancies with minority candidates, the third-rounder would move up 16 spots and possibly jump to the second round.
- If a team still employs a minority head coach or GM entering that person's third season, the club's fourth-round pick in that year would move up five spots.
This is a pretty radical proposal that's already receiving blowback on social media. But the NFL's current system for enforcing the "Rooney Rule," which involves punishing teams that don't interview at least one minority candidate for head coach and GM openings, clearly isn't working.
Only three of the NFL's last 20 head coach hires have been minorities, per Trotter, and only four teams currently employ minority head coaches: Washington (Ron Rivera), the Miami Dolphins (Brian Flores), the Los Angeles Chargers (Anthony Lynn) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (Mike Tomlin).
That's largely due to the NFL's poor enforcement of the Rooney Rule, as teams have gone unpunished for what some view as skirting the rule by interviewing a "token" minority candidate before hiring a white head coach or GM.
Incentivizing teams with rewards for hiring minorities rather than threatening them with punishment comes with its own set of complications, but perhaps the NFL's proposal will spark some positive discussion about how minorities can be better represented in NFL positions of power.