By Don Valentine, Freelance Writer
Every year on the first Monday after the National Football League (NFL) season ends, the teams terminate underperforming coaches. It has been named “Black Monday”. This has nothing to do with an influx of Black coaches. , In fact the dearth of Black coaching candidates is stark for a league that is made up of predominantly Black players.
It took a threat by the late attorney Johnnie Cochran to sue over the inequity on the paucity of African American candidates to get the league to adjust its hiring policy.
This created what is known as the Rooney Rule. The rule mandates an interview of a minority candidate for any head coaching vacancy. Believe it or not, there is still a segment of people that stands with the opponents of Affirmative Action against this rule. They argue that you should not hire someone based on the color of their skin. The Rooney Rule is aligned with this fair logic. It just calls for a chance to see if you can find a Brown or Black candidate that is meritorious.
Consider that the NFL in the modern era could not find an African American capable of being a head coach until 1989. We have had Black professors, mayors, a Supreme Court justice, and Nobel Prize winners by that time. Oddly, the NFL could not find anyone of color other than Tom Flores that was competent enough to coach until then. After the Rooney Rule, they found several successful Black candidates that have led their team to the playoffs. This includes the first Super Bowl with two Black head coaches.
Similar to Affirmative Action in education, if you open the door of opportunity you will find genius in diversity. Just give the people of color a chance to succeed and you might discover a spark. Now with the Rooney Rule we have a pipeline of development of minority defensive & offensive coordinators that have developed to head coaches. This illustrates what an even chance can do to demonstrate your merit. That is fair play!