The NFL recently made a controversial proposal to change the Rooney Rule, which considered rewarding teams that hire coaches and general managers of color with better draft position in the third round.
Former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy blasted the league for this proposal, saying “I just have never been in favor of rewarding people for doing the right thing. And so I think there’s going to be some unintended consequences. To me it’s almost like the pass interference rule.”
Ultimately, the NFL decided to table this proposal indefinitely in large part due to the backlash. However, that won’t stop former coaches from publicly blasting the league for even thinking it would be a reasonable change to the Rooney Rule.
Marvin Lewis, the former head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, went off on the NFL, telling the Baltimore Sun “It was offensive, definitely offensive. It was like having Jim Crow laws.”
Here’s more from Lewis’ interview with the Baltimore Sun:
“Draft picks are like gold,” Lewis said. “That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. As a head coach, no one wants to be hired or put in that position.”
No one would argue that adjustments need to be made to the Rooney Rule. That being said, offering better draft position for teams that hire coaches of color should not be a solution.
As long as coaches continue to speak out, there’s a solid chance the NFL will change its ways.