(Joshua Paladino, Headline USA) The NFL owners announced on March 28 after their annual meeting that every team must hire “a diverse person”—a non-white and/or non-male person—as an offensive assistant coach, regardless of their merits, ESPN reported.
Teams must hire “a female or a member of an ethnic or racial minority” for an offensive coaching position, even if they do not have a vacancy.
The owners expanded the so-called Rooney Rule—named after Pittsburg Steelers owner Dan Rooney, who first devised the policy.
For about two decades, the rule has stated that NFL teams must at least interview one non-white person for top positions, including head coach. But the league did not demand that teams hire an ethnic minority.
The NFL owners changed the Rooney Rule in two ways: The new policy forces NFL teams to actually hire a non-white person, no matter the person’s qualifications, and it includes women among the available minorities to choose from.
Women will now be included in all Rooney Rule requirements in the NFL. Also, all 32 teams will be required to hire “a diverse person (female or a member of an ethnic or racial minority” to serve as an offensive assistant. pic.twitter.com/fwcwDps7Ky
— Al Butler (@ALaboutSports) March 28, 2022
The language surrounding the updated Rooney Rule reveals that it is an affirmative action policy because it suggests that the new hire will not have the qualifications for the position, the Epoch Times reported.
The non-white and non-male offensive assistant coach should “receive a one-year contract and work closely with the head coach and offensive staff to gain experience.”
The new NFL policy aims to train women and minority coaches tobecome head coaches eventually.
“In recent years, head coaches have predominantly had offensive backgrounds,” the NFL policy states. “We believe this resolution will assist greatly in continuing to source and identify diverse candidates earlier in their career, providing pipeline depth and furthering developing the diverse offensive pipeline.”
Out of the 32 NFL teams, five (16%) had non-white head coaches in the 2021 season. But the league claimed this does not reflect the teams as a whole, which have about 60% non-white athletes. There are no women currently playing in the NFL.