NFL mandates that each team have a person of color as an offensive assistant coach

The NFL also endorsed diversity among franchise owners and formed an advisory committee to help boost minority hiring.

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The National Football League enacted measures to promote diversity this week, among them a mandate that every NFL team have, among its offensive coaches, a minority assistant staffer in a major role, according to The Washington Post.

“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, the report claims. “And so we have been focusing on that effort and how we can improve our processes.”

Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores (center), who has filed a lawsuit against the NFL and three of its teams alleging racism, reacts during the first half of the Dolphins’ December game against the New Orleans Saints. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

“We have been listening to people inside and outside the football community in terms of how we can improve,” he continued. “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.”

Additionally, the NFL has formed an advisory committee that will help boost the number of minority hires. A formal resolution endorsing diversity among franchise owners was also adopted.

The efforts come after a lawsuit by former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores, who alleged rampant racial discrimination in the league’s hiring efforts — particularly among head coaches.

As previously reported, Flores sued the NFL and three of its teams on Feb. 1. “In certain critical ways,” it maintained, “the NFL is racially segregated and is managed much like a plantation.”

The lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court sought “class-action status and unspecified damages from the league, the Dolphins, the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants, along with unidentified individuals,” per The Associated Press.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin spoke at the league’s annual meetings, where he admitted he had little confidence that the league would improve its diversity in hiring, despite new measures.

“I haven’t been in any discussions, and, no, I don’t have a level of confidence that would lead me to believe that things are going to be better,” Tomlin said, according to The Post. “I’m more of a show-me guy as opposed to a guy that sits around and talks about things.”

Rooney II is the son of late Rooney Rule namesake and former Steelers owner Dan Rooney. Established in 2003, the Rooney Rule — which required that NFL teams interview at least one minority for positions when hiring — was recently amended to include women. It now stipulates that all 32 clubs must interview at least two women and/or persons of color when seeking to fill prominent positions in order to comply with the policy, according to Sports Illustrated.

“We clearly have a trend where our head coaches are coming from the offensive side of the ball in recent years,” Rooney said. “And we clearly do not have as many minorities in the offensive coordinator positions. So without oversimplifying it, it’s really an effort to try to bring more talented minority coaches to the offensive side of the ball.”

The new offensive assistant coach requirement will consider minority coaches who have at least three years of college or league coaching experience and must work closely with the head coach and offensive coordinator.

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