Posted on February 9, 2022

Civil Rights Leaders Call For Replacement of Rooney Rule

Mike Florio, NBC Sports, February 8, 2022

The threat of litigation sparked the passage of the Rooney Rule nearly 20 years ago. The actuality of it has prompted calls to get rid of it.

Multiple civil rights leaders met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday. After the meeting, they issued a statement calling for the scrapping of the Rooney Rule.

Meeting with Goodell were National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial, National Action Network Founder and President Rev. Al Sharpton, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation President and CEO Melanie Campbell, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson, and National African American Clergy Network co-convener Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner. They requested the meeting in the aftermath of the lawsuit filed last Tuesday by former Dolphins coach Brian Flores.

“However well-intentioned, the effect of the Rooney Rule has been for team decision-makers to regard interviews with candidates of color as an extraneous step, rather than an integral part of the hiring process,” Morial said. {snip}


“The Rooney Rule has been proven to be something the owners used to deceptively appear to be seeking real diversity,” Sharpton said. “We must have firm targets and timetables.”

Sharpton said that the National Action Network has begun an effort to pressure the league through sponsors, local governments that fund stadiums, and Congress — which can hold hearings on the issue — in an effort to improve a system that NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent has publicly called “broken.”

The press release also included a call for involvement by the civil rights and racial justice community in reviewing the current situation and repairing it.


“While the NFL has begun making strides with regard to social justice and racial equity, it’s clear that voices of color are not being entirely heard in the executive suites,” Sharpton said. “Good intentions are not enough.”