The Rooney Rule
Commendable as it appears to be, I now have to wonder whether or not the intentions behind this all, is well worth it. Named after famed Pittsburgh Steelers’ owner Dan Rooney. The so called ‘Rooney Rule’s‘ intent was set to see that minorities are given the chance to interview for vacant head coach’s positions within the NFL. And considering that the very first minority to be a coach in the NFL was Frederick Douglas ‘Fritz’ Pollard in the 1920’s. One has to wonder why it was necessary to have this rule installed as mandate for all teams within the NFL. But it was apparent that with the racial tone of the league, minorities weren’t being afforded the chance of advancement from beyond the playing field and unto the sidelines as coaches, much less the chance of becoming an owner at the league’s inception.
Minorities now make up 72% of the player personnel within the NFL and it appears to be generally acceptable within the league and to the fans. But how is it that the NFL while mandating for such a role, has essentially done little if anything to try and bring in a minority owner within its ranks ? By all accounts the lone occasion this attempted maneuver was made , due diligence was not taken by the league’s panel in their investigations. An an attempt was made by what we were informed was a prominent African American businessman , Reggie Fowler who was financially solvent. His attempt to purchase the Minnesota Vikings was met with a great deal of derision and skepticism. And it certainly didn’t help that this individual had the financial means but it was said could not provide the league with enough financial details for them to ensure that his ownership bid could be granted to become the league’s first and only prominent minority owner of an NFL franchise. In the end Fowler would become part of a consortium led by German businessman, Zygi Wilf, as the owner of the franchise. Wilf would become the principal partner in the ownership group of the Minnesota Vikings with a 60% stake in the organization. Fowler has a 20 % stake in the franchise, with the remaining 20 % split amongst the remaining partners of this limited partnership group. An owner in part but not a majority stake owner that would clarify the term “prominent ethnic owner” of an NFL franchise. While some facts are disputed as to Fowler’s supposed wealth , it appears from the outset that certain maneuvers were in place to deny him the success in an attempt to purchase the team, originally. As to who was behind this all , we will in fact never know. Suffice to say , that the image of the NFL was somewhat tarnished by the episode.
Washington Redskins’ General Manager Bruce Allen leaves after holding a press conference on the dismissal of Jim Zorn as Head Coach of the team. The press conference was held at Redskins’ Park the team’s headquarters and practice facility in Ashburn , Va, on 4th January 2010. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Win McNamee ….
It wasn’t as if this investor was Robert L. ‘Bob’ Johnson, founder of BET and the prominent African American billionaire media mogul or famed NBA legend Magic Johnson. The latter of whom has branched out to become a commercial real estate mogul and business entrepreneur, with a believed estimated net worth approaching $750million. It appears that the NFL despite its image of being a charismatic and an all welcoming league.But as of yet the one vestige in showing the fans that minorities have finally arrived in terms of a majority ownership of a franchise, has yet to materialize or be realized.
Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports
By Joseph White , AP Sports Writer
Ashburn, Va. (AP)—Jim Zorn was fired by the Washington Redskins early Monday, the first step in yet another team overhaul under owner Dan Snyder.
Zorn was informed of his dismissal shortly after the team returned to Redskins Park following Sunday’s season-ending 23-20 loss at San Diego.
“I just know that last place is not Redskins football,” general manager Bruce Allen said. “Last place two years in a row is not Redskins football.”
Zorn went 12-20 over two seasons, but he lost 18 of his past 24 games after a 6-2 start in 2008. The Redskins struggled early despite a weak schedule this season and finished 4-12, their worst record since 1994.
“No one in the organization is satisfied with our record over the last two years,” Snyder said in a statement released by the team, “and I am sure that Jim would concur with that statement. It has been painful for him, too. I certainly accept responsibility for mistakes that I have made. I am hopeful that our fans will accept my commitment and pledge to deliver a franchise that can compete in the NFC East every season.”
Zorn’s replacement will be Washington’s seventh coach since Snyder bought the team in 1999. Playing a role in the decision will be Allen, who was hired as the GM last month. Allen would not comment on former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who is considered the favorite to get the job.
“We’re in the process of talking to people,” Allen said. “We have a good game plan of what we’re going to do.”
Neither Snyder nor Zorn were made available for comment.
Zorn’s dismissal had been expected for months. The front office stripped him of his play-calling duties in late October, and Snyder has interviewed assistant coach Jerry Gray for the job weeks ago, according to the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which monitors minority hiring in the NFL.
The new coach, Snyder and Allen will have a monumental task to rebuild a team with many roster deficiencies and major questions at offensive line, quarterback and running back.
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The NBA and MLB seems to have done quite nicely for themselves, with minorities coveting and obtaining a ‘seat up at the big house’ at the dining table. Where the owners can feast upon the billions of dollars that annually finds its way into the NFL coffers. This might on the face of it appear to be racially insensitive and motivated. But I assure you, nothing could be further from the truth as I feel it only proper at this juncture to let you know that for in spite of its facade. The hierarchy of the NFL may well be the best organized , financially sound and ran of the four major sports in North America. And that at the end of the day is in essence what the NFL is all about. Any bye product from it all in terms of entertainment and plaudits from the fans, media and populace in general, is merely further proof of the game’s popularity.
And while we’ve seen the success of Tony Dungy as the coach of the Indianapolis Colts, being the first African American NFL coach to win the Superbowl. And the ongoing success of his of successor, Jim Caldwell augurs well for the current situation. But other than Caldwell and Raheem Morris of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there are no other African American coaches in the NFL. Furthermore, that situation is even hindered by the fact that assistant head coaches and coordinators aren’t always afforded the luxury of the required cursory interview as demanded by the league’s mandated policy. A team has to only say that they have a minority as a prospective candidate and essentially create the scenario that the process is being adhered to. An initial cursory interview may well be granted.
The Washington Redskins with a new general manager in place, with Bruce Allen now assuming the position formerly held by Vinny Cerrato. The Daniel Snyder owned team might just be the worst ran NFL franchise in the league at present. Their turnovers in coaches is line with consistency of the Oakland Raiders and their ‘revolving door policy’ when it comes to coaches. Success or lack of it thereof, seems to be the norm for both of these franchises. Jim Zorn is the current coach of the Redskins and the impending upheaval appears apparent that Zorn’s two year tenure as the coach seems about to come to an abrupt end.
Courtesy of NFL.com Wire reports
The Washington Redskins fired coach Jim Zorn early Monday, the first step in yet another team overhaul that appears likely to involve Mike Shanahan.
An unidentified official within the NFL informed The Associated Press that new Redskins general manager Bruce Allen talked to Shanahan by phone Monday, and league sources told NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora to expect an organizational overhaul by Thursday but maybe sooner. Shanahan, who won two Super Bowls in 14 seasons as the Denver Broncos’ coach, would take over as coach/team president and quickly bring in assistant coaches and front-office personnel.
Zorn was dismissed shortly after the team returned to Redskins Park following Sunday’s season-ending 23-20 loss at San Diego.
Zorn went 12-20 over two seasons, but he lost 18 of his last 24 games after a 6-2 start in 2008. The Redskins struggled early despite a weak schedule this season and finished 4-12, their worst record since 1994.
It was the second consecutive season that the Redskins finished in last place in the NFC East under Zorn.
Allen said in a news conference Monday that “last place is not Redskin football.” He also refused to speculate on who the next coach would be, but he repeatedly said that a “passion for football” would be a primary requirement. He added that “head coach in the NFL is the most demanding executive position in sports.”
Zorn’s replacement will be Washington’s seventh coach since Dan Snyder bought the team in 1999.
“This has been an extremely difficult season for our organization and for the fans,” Snyder said in a statement released by the team. “Bruce Allen spent many hours examining the football operations, and we are both determined to do whatever it takes to build a championship team. That process begins today
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They’ve eagerly pursued Mike Shanahan for the position. And after two initial interviews, it appears that Shanahan is the successor in waiting for the presumed vacancy. What might the most egregious maneuver in all of this has been the apparent move by the Redskins to interview one of their low tiered assistant coaches,Jerry Gray, assistant defensive coordinator, who happens to be an African American. Now if this is being done merely to adhere to the Rooney policy, instead of it being a valid interview for a viable candidate for the position. But it appears that this is nothing more than a ploy on the part of the Redskins. It remains to be seen whether or not the NFL hierarchy under Roger Goodell as the league’s commissioner will have anything at all to say about the situation. It will be very interesting to see whether or not they will watch with a great deal of close scrutiny as to whether or not the Washington Redskins will follow the league mandated policy. On the face of it, it looks as if the Redskins are following the policy. But if anything they are actually circumventing the policy by merely creating the appearance that the interviewee is a candidate for the position. And that if anything smacks of the insidious behavior expected of a franchise wherein the norm of segregation was said to be still in being from a coaching standpoint, albeit that the roster of the franchise is very much a diverse one in nature.
Segregation in sports at the player personnel level is a thing of the past within the NFL. But from a coaching standpoint it looks likes it’s either at a standstill or about to indeed take a turn for the worse. But this situation just isn’t happening at the NFL level but also at the collegiate level. Of the 120 collegiate football positions at the Division 1 A level, there are less than a dozen coaches that are of African American origin or of any other minority for that matter. But at the collegiate level where the NCAA governs college athletics. There’s nothing that mandates the hiring policy when it comes to the hiring of a football coach. It’s not really so much of a dilemma that can’t be resolved. But for the NCAA it’s not something that is of an urgent priority for the organization or the various conferences. They’re not openly willing to discuss the situation and it appears neither are the NCAA. The Black Coaches Administrators (BCA) are the only ones who are pressing the colleges, the NCAA and NFL , on the issue of their hiring practices, as it concerns minorities at the college coaching level and amongst the professional ranks. And what success if any is almost mute on the part of the NCAA and how they view the situation.
The aspirants for these positions more often than not, are qualified for those positions but even if they are not. How are they are going to know what qualities will be needed by them in order to make them better suited candidates ? Especially in the case where they’re being denied the opportunity to even interview for a vacant position. At the collegiate level there is no ‘Rooney Rule’ in place for the candidates seeking a vacant coach’s position. But this is something where questions are needed to be asked and answered concerning this very issue. As to whether or not we’ll never know what will be forthcoming in the terms of an answer remains to be seen. But somehow these question have to be posed and answered unequivocally. If only to allude to the fact that there is clear transparency when it comes to the hiring of minority coaches at the collegiate as well as at the NFL level of football.
The Rooney Rule was put in place for a reason but it appears that now the NFL may well be calling time on this particular mandate.. As to the NCAA, well they’ll just continue to march to the beat of their very own drum completely oblivious of the realities of the real world and how it exists ! With its immense power in terms of its governing of the collegiate athletics’ landscape, it goes unchallenged by the major conferences as well as the Federal Government. And the Federal Government at times, would rather chide the NCCA , rather than demand that the NCAA do what is right and morally acceptable.