Dahlberg: Where have all the NFL’s black coaches gone?


Where have all the black coaches gone?

To the unemployment line, at least in the NFL. Five of the eight coaches fired over — and since — the last season were black, and so far none of them has been rehired as head coaches in the league.

That leaves two African-American coaches still standing among 32 NFL teams. And in a league where more than two thirds of players are black that’s not nearly enough.

The news Wednesday that the Denver Broncos were hiring Vic Fangio as head coach and the New York Jets were going with Adam Gase as their new coach means six of the eight teams looking for new coaches have found their man.

And so far none of the new hires have been minorities.

That’s not a new problem in the NFL, of course. It’s also one the league has addressed with the Rooney Rule that ensures minority candidates are interviewed for any head coaching openings and other front office positions.

The rule was a step forward, and for a long time it seemed to be working. To make sure, the NFL just last month announced changes to strengthen it.

The changes were hailed as a breakthrough at the time by former Giants linebacker Harry Carson, executive director of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which promotes diversity in NFL coaching and executive ranks. They came after a season in which seven coaches were replaced — and only one of the replacements was black.

“After last season’s hiring cycle, something had to be done,” Carson said. “These enhancements should strengthen the rule and ensure that it applies as intended and truly gives candidates of color a fair chance.”

So far, not so good. Teams may be interviewing minority candidates but, lately at least, they’re not hiring them.

And if last year was a step back from true diversity, this year has started off even worse.

Of the last 13 coaching hires in the NFL over two seasons, the only minority hire has been Steve Wilks — and he was fired by the Arizona Cardinals after just one year. The only two black coaches left in the NFL — which at its peak in 2011 had eight coaches of color — are Anthony Lynn of the Chargers and Mike Tomlin of the Steelers.

“I liked it better when there was eight and not just two,” said Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at Central Florida. “But I do think there is a cyclical nature to this and that may be part of it.”

Lapchick, who authors annual reports on the level of diversity in all the major professional leagues, said the NFL experienced a similar dip in the hiring of black coaches after the 2011 season into 2014. Then the hiring picked up again to the point in the last two years when there were eight coaches of color — including Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who is Hispanic.

He’s hoping that this dip may also be short-lived, while others believe promising black coaches …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports

      

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