Join Friends of Pambazuka

Subscribe for Free!



Donate to Pambazuka News!

Follow Us

delicious bookmarks facebook twitter

Pambazuka News Pambazuka News is produced by a pan-African community of some 2,600 citizens and organisations - academics, policy makers, social activists, women's organisations, civil society organisations, writers, artists, poets, bloggers, and commentators who together produce insightful, sharp and thoughtful analyses and make it one of the largest and most innovative and influential web forums for social justice in Africa.

Latest titles from Pambazuka Press

African Sexualities

Earth Grab A Reader
Sylvia Tamale
A groundbreaking book, accessible but scholarly, by African activists. It uses research, life stories and artistic expression to examine dominant and deviant sexualities, and investigate the intersections between sex, power, masculinities and femininities
Buy now

Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya

From Citizen to Refugee Horace Campbell
In this elegantly written and incisive account, scholar Horace Campbell investigates the political and economic crises of the early twenty-first century through the prism of NATO's intervention in Libya.
Buy now

Queer African Reader

Demystifying Aid Edited by Sokari Ekine, Hakima Abbas
A diverse collection of writing from across the continent exploring African LGBTI liberation: identity, tactics for activism, international solidarity, homophobia and global politics, religion and culture, and intersections with social justice movements. A richness of voices, a multiplicity of discourses, a quiverful of arguments. African queers writing for each other, theorising ourselves, making our ...more
Buy now

China and Angola

African Awakening A Marriage of Convenience?
Edited by Marcus Power, Ana Alves
This book focuses on the increased co-operation between Angola and China and shows that although relations with China might have bolstered regime stability and boosted the international standing of the Angolan government, China is not regarded as a long term strategic partner.
Buy now

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

To Cook a ContinentWalter Rodney
Rodney shows how the imperial countries of Europe, and subsequently the US, bear major responsibility for impoverishing Africa. They have been joined in this exploitation by agents or unwitting accomplices both in the North and in Africa.
Buy now

Pambazuka News Broadcasts

Pambazuka broadcasts feature audio and video content with cutting edge commentary and debate from social justice movements across the continent.

See the list of episodes.

AU MONITOR

This site has been established by Fahamu to provide regular feedback to African civil society organisations on what is happening with the African Union.

Perspectives on Emerging Powers in Africa: December 2011 newsletter

Deborah Brautigam provides an overview and description of China's development finance to Africa. "Looking at the nature of Chinese development aid - and non-aid - to Africa provides insights into China's strategic approach to outward investment and economic diplomacy, even if exact figures and strategies are not easily ascertained", she states as she describes China's provision of grants, zero-interest loans and concessional loans. Pambazuka Press recently released a publication titled India in Africa: Changing Geographies of Power, and Oliver Stuenkel provides his review of the book.
The December edition available here.

The 2010 issues: September, October, November, December, and the 2011 issues: January, February, March , April, May , June , July , August , September, October and November issues are all available for download.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

Features

MLK, the national football league and the dearth of black head coaches

Judson L. Jeffries

2013-02-06, Issue 615

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/86139

Bookmark and Share

Printer friendly version


cc Z F
Until the ranks of the head coaches and upper management in the US National Football League have been thoroughly integrated, Dr. King’s dream will remain a work in progress

As we reflect on the work, contribution and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we must acknowledge the stark reality that in many facets of American life Dr. King’s dream has not yet been realized. The National Football League in the US is certainly one example where seventy percent of its players are African American, but few of its coaches are of the same hue. Currently Mike Tomlin of Pittsburgh and Leslie Frazier of Minnesota stand as the only African American head coaches in the thirty-two team National Football League, prompting some analysts to question the league’s commitment to diversity in that particular area. This criticism comes on the heels of the firing of Chicago Bears Head Coach Love Smith and Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Romeo Crennel. In the days surrounding their release, six other head coaches were relieved of their duties as well; all of whom were white. One of them, longtime head coach Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles landed the head coaching job with the Kansas City Chiefs less than a week later, despite coming off a 4-12 record and a 8-8 record the previous year.
Smith and Crennel are still unemployed. Crennel’s firing was not unexpected after an abysmal 2-14 campaign, but some question Smith’s dismissal as he led the Bears to a 10-6 record. Others are quick to point out, however, that Smith’s Bears failed to make the playoffs six out of the nine years he served as head coach. Only fourteen African Americans have served as full-time head coaches in the NFL’s modern era. Art Shell was the first; hired by Los Angeles Raiders owner Al Davis in 1989—the team for which Shell starred as its perennial all-pro tackle. Incidentally that same year, the voters of the state of Virginia, once considered the capital of the confederacy elected L. Douglas Wilder as its governor, making him the first Black elected governor in the country’s history.
THE ROONEY RULE
In an effort to address the dearth of Black head coaches, the NFL established the Rooney Rule, named for Dan Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chairman of the league’s diversity committee, which stipulates that NFL owners looking to fill head coaching vacancies must interview one minority candidate. The thinking here is that by interviewing a minority candidate, it forces owners to bring in prospects that otherwise might not have been considered. The Rooney Rule also affords minority candidates an opportunity to gain valuable interviewing experience, become familiar with the hiring process, appear on the radar of NFL teams and/or possibly make a lasting impression that may stand the candidate in good stead with a potentially future employer perhaps somewhere down the line.
LIMITATIONS OF THE ROONEY RULE
The problem is that the Rooney Rule, now in its tenth year, has not yielded the results that the NFL’s diversity committee had envisioned it would. Since the edict was enacted, less than a dozen African Americans have been hired as full-time head coaches. To be sure, the Rooney Rule is a step in the right direction, but it is not sufficient in that it does not ensure racial balance within the head coaching ranks. For example, in 2003, the Detroit Lions filled a head coaching slot without interviewing a minority candidate; the NFL immediately slapped the franchise with a $200,000 fine. Front office executives with the Detroit Lions claimed that the team was all set to interview a minority candidate, but he withdrew, because he believed that ownership had already agreed to hire Steve Mariucci, but had simply not made an official announcement; electing instead to wait until a minority candidate was interviewed so as to be in compliance with the Rooney Rule.
A few years ago the Seattle Seahawks, identified Pete Carroll, formerly of USC, as their new head coach only to realize that offering Carroll the job without having interviewed a minority candidate was in direct violation of the Rooney Rule. In a purely symbolic gesture the Seahawks, at the eleventh hour, hurriedly extended an invitation to a minority candidate, purportedly, as a show of good faith. Why the minority candidate elected to participate in this charade is unclear.
ENFORCMENT OF THE RULE NEEDS BITE
Landing a head coaching job in the NFL is a luxury not an inherent right; hence it would be unconstitutional to require NFL owners to hire African Americans to serve as head coach of their respective teams. However, if affirmative action is to win out in the manner that Hobart Taylor Jr. and the other architects of this program visualized, the Rooney Rule has to invoke stiffer sanctions (i.e. heavier fines, loss of draft picks) for circumventing the rule as well as offer incentives for not only making a genuine effort to comply with the decree, but for actually hiring a minority candidate as head coach. There has been talk about applying the Rooney Rule to lower-level coaches as well, which is another good step in the right direction. However, why stop there? The general manager position should also come under the umbrella that is the Rooney Rule. While the owner ultimately makes the decision on whom to bring in as the head coach, the general manager is often not without influence.
While integration, (the result of a battle waged by the Civil Rights Movement of which Dr. King was the face), has indeed brought about drastic changes in the complexion of American sports, much of that change has transpired on the court and field of play. Until the ranks of the head coaches and upper management have been thoroughly integrated Dr. King’s dream will remain a work in progress.

* BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS
* Please do not take Pambazuka for granted! Become a Friend of Pambazuka and make a donation NOW to help keep Pambazuka FREE and INDEPENDENT!
* Please send comments to editor[at]pambazuka[dot]org or comment online at Pambazuka News.
*Judson L. Jeffries


Readers' Comments

Let your voice be heard. Comment on this article.




↑ back to top

ISSN 1753-6839 Pambazuka News English Edition http://www.pambazuka.org/en/

ISSN 1753-6847 Pambazuka News en Français http://www.pambazuka.org/fr/

ISSN 1757-6504 Pambazuka News em Português http://www.pambazuka.org/pt/

© 2009 Fahamu - http://www.fahamu.org/