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NFL creates more opps for diverse candidates in front office and head coaching

At the Special League Meeting in Dallas recently, the NFL’s Workplace Diversity Committee presented modifications to strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of the NFL’s Rooney Rule. These policy enhancements are part of the League’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“Since the inception of the Rooney Rule, we have seen the rule adopted across business sectors and considered an industry best practice to increase diversity,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “The policy updates made today will bolster the current Rooney Rule requirements and are intended to create additional opportunities for diverse candidates to be identified, interviewed, and ultimately hired when a vacancy becomes available.”

The enhancements to strengthen the Rooney Rule include:

  1. Clubs must interview at least one diverse candidate from the Career Development Advisory Panel list or a diverse candidate not currently employed by the club;

  2. Clubs must continue best practice recommendation of considering multiple diverse candidates;

  3. Clubs must maintain complete records and furnish to the league upon Commissioner’s request; and

  4. If final decision-maker is involved in the beginning, he/she must be involved through the conclusion of the process. The committee also endorsed strong accountability measures in the event clubs fail to comply or seek to evade procedures outlined in the Rooney Rule.

The Rooney Rule changes were developed in consultation with several independent groups including The Fritz Pollard Alliance, which advocates for diversity and job equality in the league. Adopted in 2003, the Rooney Rule is an NFL policy requiring every team with a head coaching vacancy to interview at least one or more diverse candidates.

In 2009, the Rooney Rule was expanded to include general manager jobs and equivalent front office positions. The Rooney Rule is named after the late former Pittsburgh Steelers owner and chairman of the league’s diversity committee, Dan Rooney.

The NFL’s Workplace Diversity Committee is comprised of owners and executive personnel to include: Chair, Katie Blackburn (Cincinnati Bengals); Michael Bidwill (Arizona Cardinals); Arthur Blank (Atlanta Falcons); E. Javier Loya (Houston Texans); John Mara (New York Giants); George H. McCaskey (Chicago Bears); Art Rooney II (Pittsburgh Steelers); and Kevin Warren (Minnesota Vikings).

Members of the Career Development Advisory Panel are comprised of former football coaches, executives, and players. They are: John Madden; Charley Casserly; Dick Daniels; James “Shack” Harris; Bill Cowher; Bruce Arians; and Jimmy Raye III.

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