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Tags: nfl | football | rooney rule | hiring

NFL to Implement Rooney Rule for Women Executives

NFL to Implement Rooney Rule for Women Executives
Intern linebacker coach, Jen Welter, of the Arizona Cardinals stands on the field during training camp at University of Phoenix Stadium on Aug. 1, 2015 in Glendale, Ariz. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 04 February 2016 04:55 PM

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced that the league's Rooney Rule, which mandates that a minority candidate be interviewed for all head coaching vacancies, will be extended to females seeking executive positions.

Speaking Thursday at the league's first-ever "Women's Summit," part of the week-long festivities leading up to Sunday's Super Bowl 50, Goodell revealed the new policy.

"We believe in diversity," Goodell said, NFL.com reports. "We believe we're better as an organization when we have good people at the table. We have great people at the table."

"We're also seeing it on the field," he continued. "Sarah Thomas, Sarah's right here. Sarah was our first NFL female official on the field this year. Sarah, congratulations. And she did a fantastic job, and we're very proud of her.

"We also have people breaking into coaching ranks…. Jen (Welter) is the first coach last year in the NFL. And she set a trend, we now have a second coach of the Buffalo Bills, a female coach (Kathryn Smith)."

Thomas became the league's first female official last season. Welter coached inside linebackers for the Arizona Cardinals during the team's 2015 training camp and preseason, while Smith was hired in January as a special teams quality control coach, making her the first female full-time assistant coach in NFL history.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, an avid football fan, attended the summit and applauded Goodell's announcement.

"They keep looking in the same channels; they keep finding the same people," Rice said of the league executive pool, ESPNW commentator Jane McManus reports.

Rice noted her struggles in finding a black female mentor among the ranks of Soviet specialists during her years in government service, saying:

"Most of the mentors in my field were white men. They were mostly old white men."

The Rooney Rule, named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, was instituted by the NFL in 2003. The rule requires that teams interview at least one minority candidate for all head coaching jobs that become available.

It has been criticized for leading to seemingly unwanted candidates being granted interviews just to meet the mandate.

In 2010, the Associated Press reported the Seattle Seahawks interviewed black Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier for their head coaching position even though they had already planned to give the job to white former USC coach Pete Carroll, who still holds the job today.

The Washington Redskins were accused of doing the same thing with black assistant coach Jerry Gray, interviewing him for head coach even as they were reportedly set on courting white former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who was later hired.

"That is not what the Rooney Rule is supposed to be, (that) you make up your mind and then interview a candidate for it anyway just to satisfy the rule," Tony Dungy, the former black head coach who won a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts in 2006, said at the time, the AP reports.

Goodell on Thursday defended the Rooney Rule and praised its extension to female executive candidates.

"[W]e have something called the Rooney Rule, which requires us to make sure when we have an opening, that on the team or the league level, that we are going to interview a diverse slate of candidates.," the commissioner said at the summit.

"Well we're going to make that commitment and we're going to formalize that we, as a league, are going to do that with women as well in all of our executive positions.

"Again, we're going to keep making progress here and make a difference."

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US
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced that the league's Rooney Rule, which mandates that a minority candidate be interviewed for all head coaching vacancies, will be extended to females seeking executive positions.
nfl, football, rooney rule, hiring
594
2016-55-04
Thursday, 04 February 2016 04:55 PM
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