Mark Maske, Washington Post, March 28, 2022
The NFL enacted diversity measures Monday, including a requirement that each team have a minority assistant coach in a significant role on its offensive staff.
The league also appointed a committee of outside advisers to assist its minority hiring efforts and approved a resolution endorsing diversity in franchise ownership.
“Obviously we’re still not seeing the kind of progress that we would like to see on the head coaching front,” said Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II, the chairman of the NFL’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee. “And so we have been focusing on that effort and how we can improve our processes. … We have been listening to people inside and outside the football community in terms of how we can improve. … A lot of effort is being made, and, again, [there’s] a recognition that while we’ve seen progress in certain fronts, we still have a way to go on other fronts.”
The league’s latest efforts came as Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin, one of the NFL’s two Black head coaches, said earlier in the day that he was not confident the league’s next set of diversity measures necessarily would improve its minority hiring.
Tomlin, speaking at the league’s annual meetings, said he has not been involved in the NFL’s deliberations over the steps it will take to address its diversity issues. The league is facing allegations of racial discrimination in a lawsuit filed by former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores, now a Steelers assistant, and NFL leaders have vowed to reexamine every aspect of the league’s minority hiring procedures and take action.
The new minority offensive assistant requirement comes as part of an initiative that will be partially funded by the league. The coach must have at least three years of college or pro coaching experience and must work closely with the head coach and offensive coordinator.
The NFL’s resolution on minority ownership comes with the Denver Broncos up for sale. The league has no Black principal owners.
“The NFL member clubs support the important goal of increasing diversity among ownership,” the league said in a statement. “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.”