Making More Room for the Rooney Rule
(Washington Post) — There’s no question the Rooney Rule has changed the NFL’s culture. When Mike Tomlin this month led the Pittsburgh Steelers to their second Super Bowl appearance in his first four seasons as a head coach, at least some of the buzz was about his success – not only that he’s African American.
Reaching this point was a long, difficult road, which N. Jeremi Duru explains in his outstanding new book, “Advancing The Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for Equal Coaching Opportunity in the NFL.” Duru, a Temple University law professor, details the history of the process that resulted in the Rooney Rule, which was named after Steelers owner Dan Rooney.
The rule, in place since 2003 for head coaches and expanded in 2009 to include general manager jobs and equivalent front-office positions, mandates that NFL teams interview at least one minority candidate for job openings. It was aimed at increasing diversity in the management ranks of a league in which the overwhelming majority of players are black.