The NFL has voided the contract between the Rams and Jim Haslett that would have guaranteed him the job in 2009 if he won six games. The agreement was not in accordance with the Rooney Rule, which stipulates that a minority is interviewed for head coaching positions. The league says this is different than the Colts and Seahawks naming their head coaching successors early because those decisions happened in the offseason. This could help Haslett get a higher price from the Rams or shop his wares elsewhere if the 2008 season goes well.
Now I completely understand why the Rooney rule was put into place, but at the same time it is almost always more of a hindrance than a help with how the NFL attempted to deal with their concerns in regards to minority coaching candidates. I see absolutely no reason why the Rams should be forced to interview a minority candidate for their head coaching position if they feel they are best suited going with someone from within the organization with experience. Furthermore, if Haslett does manage to win 6 or more games as the head coach, I still think the Rams give him the job, and rightfully so. And what minority coach would really want to even bother interviewing for the position knowing full well that the Rams are simply going through the motions to appease some league rule which in my opinion shouldn't exist anymore.
If anyone can point out a situation in the current NFL environment where the Rooney rule would actually do some good, please feel free to post. I'm a huge fan of equal opportunity, but I think forcing teams to "appear to provide" that opportunity is just asinine.
I think the difference is that Al hasn't said the job is Cable's if he wins 'x' amount of games. The NFL is assuming that Al will interview after the season for the position and then he would have to abide by the Rooney rule. The issue in StL is that the front office had a written agreement that the job was Haslett's if he won 6 games or more.
My big issue though is that there is a distinct gray area as well as double standard with the Rooney rule. As an example on the double standard, if the 49ers gave them same deal to Singletary, the league would not have stepped in because Singletary is a minority. As an example of the gray area, if a HC states that he will step down after the season and the team announces that the OC or DC will assume the head coaching position the following year, then that is fine regardless of whether or not the OC or DC is a minority. It's issues like this that still bother me.
But I do agree that it is still a sad state of affairs in the NFL if teams will or will not interview based on the race of a candidate. One would think that every NFL team wants to win and be competitive and they will bring in whichever coach they feel gives them the best chance to accomplish that goal. Unfortunately, that still may not be the case but forcing teams to interview minority candidates is not going to solve the problem, again assuming it still does exist, when all the rule dictates is that you interview the candidates. It's really nothing more than a PR dog and pony show in my eyes unfortunately.
I never did like the Rooney Rule. Teams should be allowed to hire anyone they want whether they interview a minority candidate or not. When the Steelers needed a coach, I wanted them to hire Mike Tomlin... Not because he's black, but because he has great football knowledge and seems like a great leader and everyone is finding that out now. It's silly to force the Rams or any team to interview someone that they already know will not be the coach in the end.
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I never agree with government mandated affirmitive action, but if an organization such as the NFL chooses to police itself, I am all for it. Sure, it isn't perfect, but I think you guys are working on misguided assumptions.
You're all assuming that those in the NFL making these decisions are all like you. Unbiased, non-discriminatory, and certainly not racist. But the problem the NFL is trying to overcome is that these 60-70 year old white males that own these clubs grew up in the 50s and 60s, raised by parents who grew up in the 20s and 30s. My dad is just over 50, and while he isn't racist, I am surprised how warped his thinking is because of his background and how he was raised.
So you've got this good ole boy club of owners that maybe aren't intentionally trying to be discriminatory, but the feeling was they weren't 'comfortable' interviewing minorities. Not necessarily because of color, but because most white coaches have been coaching for 20 years in high school or college, and their dads were coaches, and their grandpas were coaches. The previous generation of blacks likely did not have that opportunity so they are basically establishing their first generation of coaching 'heritage' in our day right now. And they can't begin that if they aren't even being looked at.
So, I agree with everything that is said about the problem with the rule. But it is certainly better than nothing and, I think in most cases, has the intended effect. IMHO of course.
I wanted to expand on what Dgan just said. Whenever I see stories like this I think (as a white male that cares less about race) that these policies are reverse racism and I believe will eventually lead to a new form of racism if they stay in place to long. The intent is good and in the NFL for example I think as American's we can appreciate that an organization or business has the freedom to make those policies themselves, and that they are not government mandated.
You don't have to play in the NFL, you don't have to own an NFL team, but if you do those are the policies put into place by your governing organization. Especially with the election around the corner and people about ready to puke because of all the rhetoric "is this person really American", "you can't be a patriot", and so on, what I appreciate from this story is that someone was free to decide those policies, and as an American that is what I love and embrace. The freedom to decide important issues for yourself, and not have the government in everything.
So even though I do think it is a crappy policy, maybe there is some prejudice in the NFL owners club. If I was a black coach I know I would feel kinda crappy getting a cursory interview, and if a black coach is hired I think some people will wonder if it was just to appease the racial quota. Common sense would say if your the best man you get the job. I think this story is an example of not only common sense but an opportunity to appreciate some freedoms we still have
Rooney rule is here to stay because Rooney himself just validated it. He stated publicly that that Tomlin was not a serious candidate in his mind and certainly not at the top of his list, but was granted an interview as per the Rooney Rule - Rooney was so impreesed with Tomlin after his interview that he decided it would be good to go in a different direction and hire someone from outside with fresh new ideas, rather promote from within when everyone assumed Whisenhut or Grimm would get the job. So if all the Rooney Rule does in some cases is allow some candidate to get his foot in the door who may not otherwise have had a shot, and then it's up to that candidate to argue his case and prove he is in fact the right man for the job (and there's nothing forcing any team to hire that minority candidate), then I don't have any problem with the rule at all.
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