When the NFL first was made to formally address the embarrassing lack of diversity in its coaching and front-office ranks back in the early aughts, a scant three of the league’s 32 teams were helmed by minority head coaches. Seventeen years since the introduction of the Rooney Rule, which requires all clubs to interview at least one minority candidate for its openings at head coach and general manager, the grand total entering the 2020 season has inched upward to four: the Dolphins’ Brian Flores, the Chargers’ Anthony Lynn and the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin, who are African American, and Washington’s Ron Rivera, who is Hispanic.
Lately it feels like we’re moving backwards. Only three of the 20 head coaching gigs that have opened up since the end of the 2017 season have been filled by minorities, an unacceptable outcome in a league where more than 70% of the players are African American.
Management of American football must reflect the society which is being managed. But the player roster of American football does not have to match the wider society.