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Fritz Pollard Alliance expresses concern regarding Colts hiring process

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Jim Irsay is “glad” Jeff Saturday has no NFL coaching experience, which leads Mike Florio and Chris Simms to explain why the Colts’ move doesn’t make sense and how it’s a slap in the face to qualified candidates.

The NFL has no problem with the decision of Colts owner Jim Irsay to hire an interim coach from outside the building without complying with the Rooney Rule. The Fritz Pollard Alliance does.

“The Rooney Rule is the only universal hiring policy used by the NFL to promote fairness and diversity,” the Fritz Pollard Alliance said in a statement. “However, [Monday’s] news in Indianapolis illuminated a gap in the league’s stated objective. If the spirit of the rule is to expand opportunities, we believe that it must be consistently applied, even in the hiring of interim positions.”

We agree. The Rooney Rule should apply to interim hires, specifically if the hire is coming from outside the current coaching staff. Hopefully, the rule will be changed immediately.

It’s not enough for it to apply to the eventual search for a replacement. The interim job gives the candidate a valuable opportunity to better position himself to get the permanent assignment. In this case, Jeff Saturday will get two months to audition for the job, on the job.

That said, Irsay may have a problem when January rolls around. What if minority candidates refuse to interview, especially in light of the fact (based on Monday night’s introductory press conference) that Irsay seems to be predisposed to giving Saturday the job?

It would be a fitting outcome for Irsay. Unless the league finds a way to carve out another one-time excuse/loophole that gives Irsay a pass. The NFL seems to be determined to never declare to the world that a team has violated the Rooney Rule, since a finding that one has done it makes the entire operation look bad.