In the aftermath of former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores’ lawsuit accusing the NFL and three of its franchises of racist hiring practices, Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney II released a statement Thursday highlighting all the Rooney Rule has done.
“Over the past several years, our Diversity Committee has recommended, and Ownership has adopted, a number of enhancements to the Rooney Rule as well as new policies designed to ensure that women and minorities are receiving full and fair consideration for coaching and front office positions,” Rooney said.
The league adopted amendments to the Rooney Rule during the 2020 offseason requiring teams to interview at least two minority candidates for head coaching vacancies, one for open coordinator jobs.
Clubs are also required to interview at least one minority candidate for senior-level management positions as well.
Although the changes have not yet paid dividends at the head coaching level, Rooney argues that they have been effective at diversifying other positions league-wide.
“While I acknowledge that we have not seen progress in the ranks of Head Coaching, we have seen marked improvement in the hiring of women and minorities in other key leadership rules such as Coordinator positions, General Manager positions, and front office positions both in and out of football operations,” Rooney said. “I believe this progress has been made as a result of the implementation of many of the enhances policies that were recently adopted.”
Despite his belief that the initiatives are working, Rooney vows that the league will continue to be proactive in ensuring diversity in hiring decisions.
“The Commissioner and League Executives, as well as the Diversity Committee, remain committed to working with all clubs, the Fritz Pollard Alliance, and others in making these efforts as effective as possible and building upon them to promote the desired impacts on hiring decisions in the League at all levels, including Head Coaching positions,” Rooney said.