Exclusive:On Head Coach Diversity, Smith Asks What was the League Expecting?

The NFL in its statement Friday responding to the lack of hiring of any minority head coaches by the teams in the last go on the hiring merry-go-round said, “While there has been full compliance with the interview requirements of the Rooney Rule and we wish the new head coaches and general managers much success, the hiring results this year have been unexpected and reflect a disappointing lack of diversity.”

Pro Player Insiders caught up with DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFL Players Association as he was leaving the practice field for the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in LA and captured his reaction to the league’s statement.

“It is appropriate given that we are coming up on the weekend of Martin Luther King’s remembrance to know and recognize that we still have work to do on the issue of increasing the diversity in the National Football League among the head coaches. I saw the league’s statement [Friday] about how they were disappointed or that they felt the results of the head coaching hires were somewhat unexpected on the level of diversity. My first question is I would be interested in knowing what they expected.

I know the players of the National Football League expect a system that is fair. The Rooney rule was instituted with the idea of at least putting forth good quality coaches and mandating that those teams interview them. I know that as the days and months go by, especially heading into Super Bowl, we’re interested in hearing from the league what they intend to do to ensure that everyone is committed to hiring the best candidates and I am certainly interesting in hearing from the Coaches Association on their thoughts. I would have expected something from them by now.

On behalf of our players, I can tell you that this is a union that is going to look for better and more innovative ways of embracing diversity. It’s our mission. Many of the candidates are former players and we believe that anything we can do to ensure that the league on the head coaching level, as well as on the ownership level, is better representative of the great country in which we live, is all the better.”

The league on Friday said they have already started the process of developing a plan for additional steps that will better ensure more diversity and inclusion on a regular basis in our hiring results.


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