The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NFL teams fumble with Rooney Rule

Eliminating racism in football, by far the most popular sport in America, could be a small step in eliminating racism all together.

That’s why the NFL established the Rooney Rule in 2003, stating that every organization must interview at least one minority candidate when a coaching position opens up.

It seems to be working. According to Jason Whitlock of FoxSports.com, the percentage of black NFL coaches has grown from six percent to 18 percent since the rule took effect. Mike Tomlin, head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, just went to his second Super Bowl in three years and might not have been considered for the job if the rule had not been in effect.

But the rule is not perfect. Critics have often said that the rule itself was racist and created token interviews. The off-season so far has helped their case tremendously.

Stanford University head coach Jim Harbaugh was wanted by both the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins. Miami owner Stephen Ross flew across the country to show Harbaugh the numbers that would make him the highest-paid coach in the NFL. But Ross couldn’t formally offer Harbaugh the contract because he had not interviewed a minority candidate yet. In between the flight back to Miami and scheduling the interview, the 49ers organization, which had already interviewed a minority, swooped in, offered Harbaugh a bigger contract and, as they say, the rest is history.

Had the 49ers not made their offer, Ross and the Dolphins would have conducted one of the most bogus job interviews in sports history. Instead, it happened right here in Tarrant County.

Jerry Jones basically told the country that Jason Garrett would be the Dallas Cowboys’ next head coach, and every football fan knew it. But Jones couldn’t formally introduce him until he had interviewed a minority candidate.

Thus, Ray Sherman, a black wide receivers coach for the Cowboys, was interviewed and then sent packing. Literally. The next day, the Cowboys hired Garrett as the head coach, and Garrett fired Sherman from coaching the wide receivers.

Something has to be done. The Rooney Rule has good intentions, but it’s actually causing the racism it’s seeking to avoid.

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