Should the Raiders get a pass on the Rooney Rule?
Tell us what you think
12:22 PMAfter I wrote a commentary Tuesday critical of the Oakland Raiders, who have seemingly gone around the Rooney Rule to pursue a reunion with former head coach Jon Gruden, several people on Twitter went at me about the franchise’s groundbreaking hiring record.
Al Davis, the Raiders’ longtime principal owner and general manager until his death in 2011, was definitely a champion of diversity. In 1979, Davis promoted assistant Tom Flores, who is Latino, to head coach making him the league’s first minority head coach to win a Super Bowl and then a second one.
Then in 1989, Davis made Art Shell, a Hall of Fame offensive lineman with the Raiders, the first black head coach in the modern history of the NFL. In 1997, Davis appointed Amy Trask the team’s CEO. Until she resigned in 2013, Trask was a member of a very rare club as one of the most powerful women in professional sports.
Davis was a maverick. He also was a trailblazer among owners when it came to hiring.
Davis’ son, Mark, hired Reggie McKenzie, who’s African-American, to be the team’s general manager. Yep. The Davis family has been much more progressive than other owners.
And that has absolutely nothing to do with the current situation.
Both things are true: Flores, Shell and Trask were impressive hires. The Raiders also have skirted the Rooney Rule to rehire Gruden, a move that appears imminent. Sure, the Raiders will likely interview a candidate of color, but that candidate has a zero percent chance of getting the job. That’s making a mockery of the rule.
On Tuesday night, Trask took to Twitter with her position on the issue. The past has nothing to do with this week’s events, she wrote.
Many have asked me whether I think OAK should be required to comply w/Rooney Rule or whether OAK should be given leeway b/c of Al’s legacy. If OAK opts to comply, it should do so honestly and in good faith. If OAK does not wish to do that, it should (1/2)
— Amy Trask (@AmyTrask) January 3, 2018
(2/2) be forthright and choose to pay a fine. But I don’t believe that Al’s legacy should be used as justification for non compliance – Al hired Tom and Art and me – and Al would be the first to be saddened if it was.
— Amy Trask (@AmyTrask) January 3, 2018
Should the Raiders get a pass on the rule because of their hiring history? Tell us what you think.
Hue Jackson is spared, Jim Caldwell is not, now Jackson needs to win some games
Browns plan to bring back coach after 0-16 mark; Lions fire coach after winning season
9:09 AMOne has to look hard to find anything positive in the winless Cleveland Browns’ season, which mercifully ended Sunday after a 28-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cleveland joined the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only NFL teams to finish 0-16.
The Browns were a complete mess from start to finish. Former general manager Sashi Brown, who was fired Dec. 7, paid the price for this season’s ineptitude. But front-office makeovers are nothing new for this franchise.
What is surprising, however, is that the Browns don’t plan to make a coaching change. Head coach Hue Jackson, who’s African-American, will return next season, the team says. During two seasons with the Browns, Jackson is 1-31. His only victory came in Week 16 last season against the then-San Diego Chargers.
Compare that to the Detroit Lions, who on Monday fired Jim Caldwell, who is also African-American. Caldwell was let go despite posting a winning record in three of his four seasons with the Lions. Detroit made the playoffs twice under Caldwell, going 0-2, and missed the postseason this year at 9-7.
Considering the dearth of head coaches of color in the league – the number fell to seven with Caldwell’s firing – it’s good that the Browns appear to be giving Jackson every opportunity to prove he’s the right man for the job. And Jackson still has a lot to prove.
Sure, the Browns’ player personnel department has made some colossal errors. Remember: Cleveland passed on star quarterback Carson Wentz. Still, it’s hard to go winless during a 16-game schedule, as evidenced by the fact it has only happened twice.
It’s fair to say that Jackson needs to show a whole lot next season. He has to win some games.
Gettleman hiring keeps diversity numbers for NFL general managers the same
Give the Giants credit for interviewing two black candidates
8:07 AMOn Thursday, the New York Giants announced the hiring of Dave Gettleman as the team’s new general manager.
Gettleman, who was fired from the same position with the Carolina Panthers in July, replaces Jerry Reese, who was relieved of his duties along with Giants head coach Ben McAdoo on Dec. 4.
The hiring keeps the number of black general managers in the 32-team league at four — Rick Smith (Houston Texans), Ozzie Newsome (Baltimore Ravens), Reggie McKenzie (Oakland Raiders) and Chris Grier (Miami Dolphins) — after the Cleveland Browns fired Sashi Brown on Dec. 7.
Although the Giants didn’t end up replacing Reese, who is African-American, with another black GM, they did take the league’s diversity hiring initiative, the Rooney Rule, more seriously than most other front offices have. The rule requires teams to interview at least one candidate of color for every head-coaching or senior football operations position, although some teams hold what are essentially “token” interviews with black or brown candidates to check off a box.
The Giants, on the other hand, interviewed two black men for the position: Marc Ross, the team’s current vice president of player evaluation, and Louis Riddick, an ESPN analyst and former player, pro scout and director of pro personnel.
Giants interviewed Dave Gettleman, Louis Riddick, Marc Ross and Kevin Abrams for their GM job. Many thought they’d interview more from other teams next week. Not now. Gettleman it is.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 28, 2017
Kevin Abrams, the Giants’ interim general manager, also interviewed. Gettleman returns to the Giants after having spent 15 seasons with the team, mostly as director of pro personnel. In Gettleman’s four-year tenure with the Panthers, the team made the playoffs three seasons in a row from 2013-15, including a 15-1 record and Super Bowl appearance in 2015. He was not a favorite of some of the franchise’s best players.
Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., running back DeAngelo Williams and cornerback Josh Norman sent parting shots at Gettleman when the Panthers announced his firing.