Robert L. Johnson Calls for Business Version of Rooney Rule

Nsenga Burton, The Root, October 3, 2011

RLJ Companies chief Robert L. Johnson has offered a solution to addressing alarming unemployment rates in the black community, calling for the creation of a “RLJ Rule,” which would be modeled after the National Football League’s “Rooney Rule.”

In an effort to engage the business community in addressing the inequitable unemployment rates for African Americans and to increase vendor and supplier opportunities for minority-owned businesses, Black Entertainment Television founder Robert L. Johnson, also founder of the RLJ Companies, is urging Fortune 1000 companies to “voluntarily” adopt a version of the Rooney Rule.

According to the NFL, the Rooney Rule requires teams to give fair interviews to minority candidates whenever a head-coaching or general-manager position becomes open prior to making a final hiring decision. {snip}

Johnson urges a similar practice for all U.S. companies and firms, which he calls the RLJ Rule.


The two-pronged RLJ Rule:

(a) encourages companies to voluntarily implement a plan to interview a minimum of two qualified African American candidates for every job opening at the vice president level and above; and

(b) encourages companies to interview at least two qualified African American firms for vendor supplier/services contracts before awarding a new company contract to a vendor.



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31 Responses to “Robert L. Johnson Calls for Business Version of Rooney Rule” Subscribe

  1. Eurobeing October 4, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

    The Rooney Rule in sports makes at least some sense because black atheletes are so prevalant in American Sports. Even that has it’s limits though because even the best and most equipped intellectually cannot really compete with the front line white coaches and sports managers.

    You can’t tell me Michael Jordan owner of the Washington Wizards is mentally capable of discerning what goes on in back rooms along with the white corporate talent he is exposed to. He is a front man. The same is true of black head coaches who cannot compete unless they are held up by white assistants.

    This goes too far because male blacks are as absent in business as they are in maturnity wards. This is just like what happend to the school system always some Mammie principal gonna fix all of the schools problems. 2 years later the schools fail.

  2. Anonymous October 4, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

    “inequitable unemployment rates”

    There can be no such thing as that.

    “voluntarily implement a plan to interview a minimum of two qualified African American candidates for every job opening at the vice president level and above”

    But usually there are zero qualified candidates. The pool begins by high school, is whittled down in college, and then at each successive corporate level by the time you get to VP. Only blatant Affirmative Action hires are left, 99% of the time.

  3. Charles Marlow October 4, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    The “Rooney Rule” (aka Affirmative Action) is already widespread in the public sector. It is only a matter of time before the government decrees that this is the law of the land in the private sector as well. Those who resist will be taxed into submission.

  4. Question Diversity October 4, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    Johnson must be blind. Most major corporations are top heavy (albeit not at VP and above levels) with affirmative action hires, for the sake of having useless affirmative action dead weight on the payroll to throw a bone to the civil rights enforcers, both in and out of government.

    If Johnson gets his way, and various corporate CEO and VP positions go black and never go back, this means the real work will go to the white underlings underneath the VPs.

  5. Anonymous October 4, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    Thank God for Robert Johnson. I was worried about what we were going to do with all those unemployed blacks with corporate vice president-level qualifications and experience sitting around with nothing to do.

    Also, “African-American firm” should be understood as “firm with ceremonial African-American figurehead that is managed and operated by white rank-and-file.”

  6. sociobiologist under distress October 4, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    He’ll get the rule, no doubt. Who would argue against it, but the racists? And if we do argue against it, that will be more proof that the lack of blacks in jobs they want but don’t deserve “requires immediate action to erase hate through eliminating structural racism that sustains racist unearned White privilege.

    Systemic bias, institutional privilege, structural racism- all the reasons the Africanisms need to permanently dispossess White Humanity form all that our ancestors gave to us.

  7. Cliff Yablonski October 4, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    The final insanity.

    Yes, let’s do it and see people like this in business positions.

    These people can vote and hold office. How does that make you feel?

  8. MAJ October 4, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    I have a new RLJ Rule: Shut-up.

    How about we hire two whites for every black at BET to make things even?

    This is a sickening, racist shake-down. There is a reason blacks are unemployed. It’s call incompetence, low education, criminal records, and no skills.

    Perhaps Mr. BET should look in the mirror at his own kind before spouting south african voodoo capitalism. I’d like to see his reaction when la raza yells at him to “voluntarily” hire hispanics instead of Tyrone.

    Ignorant fool.

  9. the Soviet Republic of New Jersey October 4, 2011 at 7:16 pm #


    Why don’t they leave for a better place. How much would they want to leave the USA never to return. How much, it would be worth it. The only time Blacks were happy and working was when they were slaves. Is there a nation that would be willing to take American Blacks?

  10. Dance October 4, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    More nonsense. Companies should all relocate to high IQ homogenous countries like South Korea and Japan. Diversity or the inclusion of low IQ groups hobbles and lessens quality and innovation. It certainly does not help.

  11. (AWG) Average White Guy October 4, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

    Once again color of skin trumps content of character (and levels of competence.)

    This nonsense exists because we are compelled to ignore the reality of innate intellectual and behavioral racial variations.

  12. Anonymous October 4, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    Build a corner office, put a fancy, meaningless title on the door, and pay a black to sit there and play on the computer all day. Call it a cost of doing business in today’s Affirmative Action America.

  13. It's Yo' Thang..... October 4, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

    Yep, here we go again — a group that comprises 13% OR LESS of the entire population of the United States demanding MUCH more than 13% of top jobs that most of them do not even remotely qualify for. It is NOT equal rights any more — it’s equal RESULTS, but they don’t want to work for them. It’s something for nothing, the black ghetto motto, one more time.

  14. Anonymous October 4, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    Of course BET, The Root, NAACP, the Post Office and others don’t have to follow a conceptually similar rule by interviewing non-blacks for their organizations.

  15. AvgDude October 4, 2011 at 11:08 pm #

    The Rooney Rule made sense in football because football wouldn’t be football as we know it without blacks. Business, on the other hand, can do just fine without blacks. In fact, many do a hell of a lot better without them, unless they happen to be talented blacks. But if you want a sure fire way to wreck a business, then just pass over your best performers and give a coveted executive position to a lesser performer just because he’s black. I’d leave such a company the first chance I got, and so would anybody else who was a good performer and white.

  16. sbuffalonative October 4, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    Blacks can’t do for themselves which is why they have to co-opt the success of Whites.

    We’ve all heard the canard that ‘blacks have to be twice as good as Whites’ to make it.

    If blacks are twice as good as Whites, why can’t they make it on their own?

  17. Epiales October 4, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    Robert L Johnson named the proposed “rule” after himself! What was I reading about narcissism earlier?

    I thought companies already used the RLJ Rule. Most large businesses are desperate to increase their diversity quotient.

  18. ATBOTL October 5, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    Good. Let’s hope it become a law that only blacks can be hired as corporate executives. You cannot find a group of white men who have less racial loyalty or who have done more harm to America than corporate executives have.

  19. Anonymous October 5, 2011 at 1:35 am #

    Typical black mentality indeed. If whites demanded the same it would be deemed racist. Even if other races in the US did this, it also would be called racist. Only blacks are foolish enough to think of this. Companies should hire whoever is qualified for the job. If a black person happens to get a job because they are qualified to do it, that’s fine, but no company should have to hire a certain number of people solely because of their race.

  20. Anonymous October 5, 2011 at 8:13 am #

    Isn’t the NFL 70% black 28% white and 2% other? This is the model for being tolerant? No doubt, according to the smart people, even the NFL needs to do more.

  21. Tab Numlock October 5, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    It’s funny to watch these black figurehead coaches standing on the sideline watching then game, wearing headsets they never talk into.

  22. Anonymous October 5, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    this is never, ever going to stop. In 1965 white males were 90% of the work force now they are 30% or less and still bearing 100% of the burden of affirmative action’s ever growing list of victim groups.

    I imagine the ‘rooney rule’ will become law via some liberal judge ruling.

  23. rjp October 5, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    Of course BET, The Root, NAACP, the Post Office and others don’t have to follow a conceptually similar rule by interviewing non-blacks for their organizations.

    Would you actually want to work at any of those places?

  24. Joe October 5, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    Lmao at post #5.

    I read solely for the comments.

  25. Seek October 5, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    Robert E. Johnson has a reputation of paying his employees at BET poorly. It’s a dirty secret among blacks in broadcast journalism that BET is the place to start, not rise or finish. Of course, he wants other (read: white) CEOs to hire blacks at top dollar. He’s not going to do it at his own company.

    Interesting fact: Johnson a good friend of former President George W. Bush.

  26. SS October 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    If segregation is wrong then surely this is right.

    I cannot help but feel that if white people are not willing to stand up and fight for their right to be left alone then it seems only fair to me that non-whites should be allowed to take over whatever they want.

    We don’t get to have it both ways. You cannot expect to share your Country and Communities without sharing your jobs too.

  27. Anonymous October 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    Their Best and Brightest would be C students at best if they were White. Would it not be smart business sense to have the smartest and most qualified to run your company? No more quotas if America is to be great AGAIN!! Bring back the Best Man/Woman for the job!! They want to be CEO’s?…start your own business and stop telling me who I need to hire and promote!

  28. SKIP October 6, 2011 at 12:06 am #

    ” also founder of the RLJ Companies, is urging Fortune 1000 companies to “voluntarily” adopt a version of the Rooney Rule.

    The operative word here being ‘VOLUNTARILY’ if not, it will be forced on those business who resist the BRA enforcement. Civil War II is coming, weapons and ammo are your friends, get them while you still can.

  29. margaret October 6, 2011 at 3:00 pm #


    The fortune 500 has provided most of the funding for NAACP, Jesse Jackson and the other black organizations for 50 years.

    The members of the boards of directors of the fortune 500 sit on the boards of NAACP, CORE, MALDEF NOW Jackson’s organizations and all sorts of non White supremacist organizations.

    The fortune 500 and wall street give much more money to the democrats, than the republicans. Fortune 500 has saddled the country with tens of millions of legal and illegal immigrant job thieves half of whom are both working and on welfare.

    Let the fortune 500 reap what they have sown. They helped exterminate Whites from so many sectors of the economy from government to restaurants and hotels.

    I hope they get the same kind of blacks who ran fannie and freddie mae into the ground.

    Goes around comes around. Fortune 500 paid for the affirmative action law suits. Let them have their fair share of affirmative action fools running their companies.

  30. Anonymous October 8, 2011 at 6:45 am #

    “encourages companies to voluntarily implement a plan to interview a minimum of two qualified African American candidates for every job opening at the vice president level and above”

    This of course plays a rather obvious trick by planting the unproved and unlikely ASSUMPTION that there are ‘two qualified African American candidates for every job opening at the vice president level and above’.

  31. Chantal Heenan October 10, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    “When you love a man, he becomes more than a body. His physical limbs expand, and his outline recedes, vanishes. He is rich and sweet and right. He is part of the world, the atmosphere, the blue sky and the blue water.” ~ Gwendolyn Brooks