Nearly two decades after the NFL enacted the Rooney Rule, teams’ hiring and firing practices still disadvantage Black coaches at every turn — and it’s getting worse, a Post investigation found.
Despite the league’s end-zone pledge to “END RACISM,” Black coaches continue to be denied top jobs in a league in which nearly 60 percent of the players are Black.
It is a glaring shortcoming for the NFL, one highlighted by the findings of an investigation by The Washington Post. Black coaches tend to perform about as well as White coaches, The Post found. But while White candidates are offered a vast and diverse set of routes to the league’s top coaching jobs, Black coaches face a much narrower set of paths. They have had to serve significantly longer as mid-level assistants, are more likely to be given interim jobs than full-time ones and are held to a higher standard when it comes to keeping their jobs.
Since 1990, Black coaches have been twice as likely as others to be fired after leading a team to a regular season record of .500 or better.
Amid growing scrutiny of the issue, The Post compiled and analyzed three decades’ worth of data and conducted interviews with 16 of the 24 living current and former NFL head coaches who identify as Black, as well as dozens of other coaches, former players, team executives, agents and others.
The data quantifies the frustration felt by many of those coaches, which erupted into the public eye this year with a lawsuit by Brian Flores, fired by the Miami Dolphins in January, that accuses the league and its teams of racism in their hiring and firing practices. The lawsuit and its potential implications hover over the NFL as its new season unfolds with just three Black head coaches: Todd Bowles of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Lovie Smith of the Houston Texans and Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
One Global Culture is being created as an interpersonal and dynamic event networking organization designed to advance the hiring of Black coaches and executives in professional sports.
One Global Culture [“OG Culture”] is a new startup that is being developed and launched by Roger Harriott and James Walker in conjunction with the Black Progress Matters Black-Owned Business Incubation Program. OG Culture embraces the Black Progress Matters mission and is specifically dedicated to the hiring and advancement of Black Head Coaches and Executives in professional sports.