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Mike Tomlin Not Confident NFL Hiring Practices Will Change

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Mike Tomlin

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he is not confident that NFL hiring practices will change, despite renewed calls for them to do so amid the lawsuit filed by new Steelers assistant BrianFlores.

Tomlin hired Flores this offseason amid his legal lawsuit against the NFL for racial discrimination with their hiring practices. Being the only black head coach in the NFL at the time, Tomlin communicated with Flores on a daily basis to help him through the issues. When all his deals as a head coach fell through, Flores became a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ staff. 

However, the fight Flores is fighting is one that is bigger than himself. When Flores declared his lawsuit against the NFL for discriminatory hiring practices, he knew he was putting his coaching career on the line. For Flores, that was a price worth paying in order to change the practices.

“God has gifted me with a special talent to coach the game of football, but the need for change is bigger than my personal goals,” Flores said in a statement. “In making the decision to file the class action complaint, I understand that I may be risking coaching the game I love.”

Tomlin, meanwhile, was there to hire Flores. Understanding that Flores may be on an island, Tomlin did not want that to happen at all costs. Moreover, the lawsuit Flores filed is still ongoing even though he has joined the Steelers. The bigger viewpoint here is that more amends to the Rooney Rule may need to be instituted. More than that, there may need to be new policies implemented to ensure racial equity in the NFL, especially in the hiring process.

As the longest-tenured black head coach in the NFL, Tomlin may be at the forefront of the fight along with Flores. However, he does not see the hiring practices changing, given what he knows.

“No, I don’t have a level of confidence that would lead me to believe things are going to be any better,” Tomlin said to Steelers.com. “I’m more of a show-me guy opposed to a guy that sits around and talks about things.”

The question will be the NFL’s commitment to changing the policies and how they will ensure the equity will improve. As such, Flores’s fight will rage on until those problems are solved. While he now receives more widespread support, until the NFL does something and proves they are behind the development of racial equity in the hiring processes, nothing will change.

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