NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell vows to review league’s hiring practices

The NFL will seek advice from independent experts as part of a wide-ranging review aimed at boosting the number of minority head coaches, commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday.

Goodell said nothing would be “off the table” as the league looks to improve its record of hiring minorities following allegations of institutional racism.

“I think we’ve made a tremendous amount of progress in a lot of areas, but with the head coaches we’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ve got to figure that out,” Goodell told reporters at his annual state-of-the-league news conference ahead of this weekend’s Super Bowl.

“To me, this is an opportunity for us to step back, look at what we’re doing, and see how what we’re doing can lead to better results.”

The NFL was rocked last week after former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit accusing the league and team owners of racist hiring practices.

The explosive allegations refocused attention on the NFL’s dearth of minority head coaches in a league where around 70% of players are Black.

Since Flores’ lawsuit, both the Dolphins and the Houston Texans have hired minority head coaches, taking the 32-team league total to five.

Goodell, however, acknowledged on Wednesday that even allowing for those appointments the NFL had fallen short “by a long shot.”

“I think we’ve made a lot of progress in a lot of areas,” Goodell said. “But not at the head coach. And that is something we really have focused on — trying to get the results that we expect. We have fallen short of that by a long shot.”

Goodell said the NFL’s “Rooney Rule”, which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching jobs, had been successful in getting Black coaches “into the interview room.”

“But what we want to see is the outcomes,” Goodell said.

“So what we are going to do is step back and look at everything we are doing today and re-evaluate that.”

That could even include revising the Rooney rule or eliminating it altogether.

“We’re going to have independent people come in and look and help us evaluate it,” Goodell said.

“Because it’s sometimes hard to evaluate your own policies and procedures. We want to make sure we’re doing everything we possibly can to create that opportunity for everybody to make sure we are an inclusive league and we get the outcomes we want.”

Goodell said the league would be ready to overhaul league policies if necessary.

“If it requires an overhaul you do it,” he said. “If it requires changes in other areas you do it. Obviously we haven’t been successful to date so you have to look at every one of the alternatives. We’re going to have people look at it independently with us and bring those ideas to us.

“We believe in diversity, we believe in it as a value, we believe it makes us stronger — we just have to do a better job. Is there another thing we can do to making sure we’re attracting the best talent and making our league inclusive? If I had the answer I would give it to you.

“We have to continue to look at it and say ‘We’re not doing a good enough job here’. We need to find better solutions and better outcomes. So let’s find more effective policies.”

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