There’s a lot of complaining about NFL teams trying to circumvent the Rooney Rule by making token interviews with potential black coaches and then hiring the guy they wanted to hire all along, and I want to take a few moments to set the record straight.
In the past, the main defense of this practice was that even if they had no chance of getting the job, perhaps they could make an impression that would lead to them getting some job in the future, that would get them into the “good ol’ boys network”. I’m going to say right now that Leslie Frazier is going to be named a head coach in the NFL a year from now, and I’d bet better-than-even odds that he would not have if he weren’t interviewed for the Seahawks job. I mean, every hardcore football fan in America has heard of Frazier now; how many heard of him before he became a symbol of everything “wrong” with the Rooney Rule?
If a team has someone in mind for their head coaching vacancy, why not let them hire that person? I mean, if, as I’ve heard people suggest, the practice constitutes something Roger Goodell needs to do something about, what do you do about it? Do you force teams to hire black head coaches when they don’t want to? Do you force the Seahawks to hire Leslie Frazier instead of Pete Carroll? If not, how do you determine when to lay down the law and when not to? Even when it’s time to lay down the law, how do you do so? How do you close loopholes without getting ridiculous? How do you avoid “reverse racism”? It just seems impossible and unnecessary to enforce the spirit of the law on top of the letter.
Funny how none of the previous instances have resulted in as much outrage as now…