Roger Goodell on lack of diversity within the league office: We’re not doing good enough
Jim Trotter of NFL Media read off the dismal diversity numbers in the NFL in a question to commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday: Twenty-four of 32 teams have had one Black head coach or none in their histories; the Bills, Commanders, Cowboys, Falcons, Giants, Jaguars, Patriots, Panthers, Rams, Ravens, Saints, Seahawks and Titans have never employed a non-interim Black head coach; the NFL has never had a majority Black owner; the league has one Black club president; it has seven minority General Managers, with five hired in the past 12 months; and the NFL has only three Black head coaches, two of whom were hired after Brian Flores’ lawsuit.
To end his one-minute, 47-second question, Trotter asked Goodell specifically about the league office and NFL Media.
“When we look at the league office, of the top 11 executives, there are only two people of color,” Trotter said. “When we look at NFL Media Group, where I work, there is not one Black person at the senior level in the newsroom who makes decisions about a league whose player population is 70 percent Black. Why does the NFL and its owners have such a difficult time at the highest levels hiring Black people into decision-making positions?”
“We look at the same numbers and they’re really part of the effort that, again, looking at how do we become more effective in our policies and procedures,” Goodell said. “We work really hard, we believe in diversity. We believe in it as a value. We believe it’s made us stronger. People have come into the league who are diverse have been very successful and made us better and we just have to do a better job. Is there another thing that we can do to make sure we’re attracting that best talent here and making our league inclusive? If I had the answer right now, I would give it to you.”
Goodell sent a memo to top NFL executives last week after Flores filed his lawsuit, acknowledging the league’s failure to make progress on increasing diversity among head coaches. He called the numbers “unacceptable.”
He used similar language Wednesday in response to Trotter’s question about hiring at the decision-making level of the league office.
“I think what we have to do is just continue and find and look and step back and say, ‘We’re not doing a good enough job here,’” Goodell said. “We need to find better solutions and better outcomes and so, let’s find more effective policies. Let’s make sure everyone understands. Let’s make sure that we’re looking at diversity and, actually, incentivizing that for everybody in our building, including with compensation. Let’s make sure that when we’re dealing with vendors outside the building, we’re hiring diverse vendors and bringing them in and giving them an opportunity to succeed, just like we do with white vendors, or (in regard to) people of color, how can they come in and contribute to the NFL.
“So, I think it’s not a single answer. . . . The single responsibility comes on all of us in the NFL, and we have to be the ones that make that change and we are the ones that have to make sure we bring diversity deeper into our NFL and make the NFL an inclusive and diverse organization, that allows everyone the opportunity to be successful.”