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NFL Passes Resolution on Diversity among Ownership



Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin

The NFL will attempt to address the issue of diversity among franchise ownership, the league announced Monday in a statement and resolution which takes aim at rectifying a core issue in the league’s attempts in create racially equitable hiring practices for general managers and coaches.

The league’s Rooney Rule, which went into effect in 2003, has been continually modified to force teams to consider minority candidates for coaching and front office positions and reward those that do.

But the real issue may lie with team owners that choose to overlook minority candidates. That could stem from that group’s own lack of diversity. Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who is Pakistani, is the only non-white majority owner of an NFL franchise. Buffalo Bills co-owner Kim Pegula is Asian-American. 

So following a discussion at the 2022 NFL meetings in Palm Beach, Florida on Monday, the NFL resolved to attempt to prioritize potential ownership groups that contain racially diverse members when accepting new league members.

“The NFL member clubs support the important goal of increasing diversity among ownership,” the statement read. “Accordingly, when evaluating a prospective ownership group of a member club pursuant to League policies, the membership will regard it as a positive and meaningful factor if the group includes diverse individuals who would have a significant equity stake in and involvement with the club, including serving as the controlling owner of the club.”

One NFL club, the Denver Broncos, is currently for sale and Black billionaire Robert F. Smith is reportedly among the candidates, along with former quarterbacks John Elway and Peyton Manning and Brittany Bowlen, daughter of late owner Pat Bowlen.

The league’s hiring practices, which have resulted in a current lineup of five minority general managers and five minority head coaches out of 32 teams, despite a league that is 70% Black, have come under increased scrutiny this offseason after former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores sued the league over unfairness toward minority candidates in its hiring practices, among other issues.

The Steelers hired Flores as their senior defensive assistant after he filed the suit and was not chose for any available head coaching positions this offseason.

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