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Anthony Lynn likes spirit, not execution of the Rooney Rule

anthony lynn

Bills offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn has taken some head coaching interviews he might have only gotten because of the Rooney Rule.

He has also turned down other chances to interview, because he believed he was simply acting as a box that had to be checked off to be in compliance with the Rooney Rule.

“I think it’s good to get in front of the decision-makers and let them hear what you have to say,” Lynn said, via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. “But at the same time, I think some people take advantage of it. I’m not for it. Hire the best man for the job. That’s all I want.”

The rule was instituted because for a long time, all those best men happened to be white. When Todd Bowles got the Jets job in the 2015 offseason, he became the only first-time hire of a minority coach in the last five hiring cycles. The rule requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching jobs, and has been expanded to include General Manager positions as well.

Lynn interviewed with the Dolphins and 49ers a year ago, but has avoided other interviews because he felt like teams were using him to meet a quota. He interviewed for the Jets job in 2015 (which went to Bowles).

“I think sometimes people do that to check the box,” Lynn said Thursday. “I don’t agree with it. . . .

"[The rule] has its pros and cons. If I didn’t do the interview in New York, maybe my name wouldn’t be circulating right now, I don’t know. But I think it’s good to get in front of the decision-makers and let them hear what you have to say.”

It’s a catch-22 for some minority coaches, because if they don’t participate in the process they absolutely won’t get a job. But you will see names circulate in a few weeks that look like outliers for a reason.

The purpose of the rule was to create a pool of qualified candidates, and force teams to pause to consider that melanin was not a disqualifying factor. But the results have not followed from the league’s best intentions, as the hiring process is as white as it’s ever been.