The Oakland Raiders are coming under fire yet again for the firing of Jack Del Rio and the hiring of Jon Gruden. According to ESPN, the Raiders may have hired Gruden without following through with the Rooney Rule. We all know what the Rooney Rule is, right? In case you don’t, it’s a rule in which an NFL team has to interview a minority coaching candidate before they officially hire someone.
In the Raiders case, the Gruden deal was already agreed upon before the Raiders went into an official coaching search. By doing so, they might have ignored the rule altogether. So what? As an African-American male, this does not bother me. If the Raiders knew who they wanted, had no other person in mind for the job, why waste someone’s time in bringing them in for an interview for a job he wasn’t going to get anyway?
From the beginning, Gruden was their No. 1 guy. I mean, just to please the NFL, Mark Davis could have called in Jim Caldwell, Tony Dungy, or any other available minority coach, but they had their guy. Why should NFL teams keep obeying the Rooney Rule when they shouldn’t have to? In the beginning, the rule made sense, as many minorities felt they were getting passed over for jobs, however, things have changed.
While the Rooney Rule was placed to help chances, in today’s society, it might actually hinder.
Race is still a huge part of any sport, but with Colin Kaepernick and the kneeling situation still under heavy surveillance, there’s no need to throw more fuel to the fire. If a coach is good enough, no matter his skin color then the job should be his no matter who has to be interviewed before him. What the Rooney Rule does is indeed cause confusion. If you know you’re not qualified but get a call from a team knowing the job is not yours, what do you do? Do you pack a bag, fly out, and sit in an office for an hour just making small talk knowing the real coach is coming to sign his contract right after you leave?
This is what the Rooney Rule has been reduced to. It was designed to offer equal opportunity during a time when none was provided. However, it seems that the rule has now turned into something else altogether. It’s almost as if it’s a charity case now. The Raiders said they followed the rules by interviewing Bobby Johnson and USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin. But did they? Regardless, does it really matter? Mark Davis knew all along who he wanted, so it didn’t matter if he interviewed 1 million minorities.
It’s a tough situation to be in. For Mike Tomlin, the rule changed his life, however, minority coaches have proven themselves over the years. The Rooney Rule has helped, but in the case of the Oakland Raiders, it made no sense. Some love the rule, while others like myself don’t feel it’s as vital as it once was. It was created to help, but now, it’s become a distraction.