The NFL’s New Assistant-Coach Hiring Policy Smacks of Racism

When thinking about sports in America, it doesn't take much pondering to realize that in the present age, they're pretty diverse. In fact, sports teams, whether professional or not, are home to some of the highest diversity scores of any group in the country.

However, this is not the case for coaching roles, at least not in the National Football League (NFL). So, the league is introducing changes to this. On Monday, the NFL announced that from now to the end of the season, every professional team will be required to hire at the minimum one assistant coach from a minority group during the coming season.

The goal is to eventually offer more head-coaching positions to minorities since very few of the current head coaches are non-white. In essence, it's an expansion of an existing rule called the Rooney Rule. The name is a tribute to former Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney. The original rule was implemented in 2003, requiring all NFL teams to interview minority applicants for vacant posts, as long as they have the capacity for the job.

However, the expansion of this rule demands that they not just screen minority candidates but also hire them specifically for assistant-coaching positions.

In a statement, Art Rooney II, the son of Dan Rooney and current chairman of the NFL Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, as his predecessors before him had stated, declared, “It's a recognition that at the moment when you look at stepping stones for a head coach, they are the coordinator positions… We clearly have a trend where coaches are coming from the offensive side of the ball in recent years, and we clearly do not have as many minorities in the offensive coordinator (job).”

The league explained that teams that already have an assistant coach of a minority group are able to count him or her towards this obligation. Women are also considered an ethnic minority.

Naturally having more people from different backgrounds in any department or industry is a good thing. However, accomplishing it this way can lead to many issues. In the first place, it runs against the primary stipulation of the Rooney Rule itself, which requires that “candidates have the opportunity to prove they have the necessary skills and qualifications to excel.”

How are potential candidates going to feel secure about this opportunity if the new rule expansion requires that their abilities and credentials be second to their skin color?

Let's say, for example, that a white man and a black man are both seeking an NFL assistant coach job and made it through to the final round. We can also assume that the black person is a bit less competent than the white. Because he was among the few applicants from Africa who applied, his name was quickly placed on the shortlist, and he is likely to be given the job.

In requiring teams to choose employees by skin color first and talent second in their hiring decisions, the NFL is effectively telling any member from a minority group that he or she doesn’t have to be as qualified as a white applicant. Since the rules require that minority members be hired, they'll get an opportunity regardless. While they're not able to prove their capabilities, the minorities who are hired in this way will always need to consider the validity of their credentials, believing their skin color earned them their jobs.

This doesn’t line up with other NFL goals.

Let's use the same scenario above and suppose that the team did, in fact, hire the black coach despite being aware of the fact that the white guy was more skilled. Then if due to the coach's inexperience or lack of skills and experience, the team began losing, the team would have no other choice but to eventually dismiss the black coach and hire another–possibly the white guy who finished second to him.

Would sane businesses and establishments shout “racism” then? In essence, it's creating an environment of failure for all teams, with coaches from minorities hired regardless of whether they're competent or not. It's also plainly racist. What would the woke say if the rule was changed so that teams must hire at the very least one white assistant coach? The principle would be the same, but the liberal left would be unable to comprehend its significance.

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