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What the Rooney Rule reveals about football, coaching and race in America

The NFL has instituted some policy changes to the Rooney Rule designed to further enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in hiring practices. (Rick Osentoski, File/AP Photo)
The NFL has instituted some policy changes to the Rooney Rule designed to further enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in hiring practices. (Rick Osentoski, File/AP Photo)

Three days before his interview for the New York Giants’ head coaching position, Brian Flores found out that the job was promised to someone else.

Flores is now suing the NFL for racial discrimination. But this won’t be the first time there’s been a push toward racial advancement in pro football leadership.

“After the Rooney Rule’s enactment, the number of head coaches of color jumped from one to eight. And so there was hope, but it was bearing out,” sports professor N. Jeremi Duru says. “But what we’ve seen is there’s some tremendous progress and then there’s backsliding. And we are right now in the period of backsliding.”

Today, On Point: The NFL’s track record with diversity – and the rule that was supposed to help advance it.

Guests

N. Jeremi Duru, professor of sports law, civil procedure and employment discrimination at the American University Washington College of Law. Author of “Advancing the Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for Equal Coaching Opportunity.” (@njeremiduru)

Also Featured

Cyrus Mehri, civil rights attorney. He co-wrote a report titled Black Coaches in the National Football League, which led to the adoption of the Rooney Rule. Co-founder of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, an advocacy group that works in conjunction with the NFL to promote minority hiring in coaching, scouting and front office positions. (@cyrus4nflpa)

John Wooten, former NFL player, agent and executive. Former Chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance.

From The Reading List

The Undefeated: “Brian Flores’ lawsuit shines a brutal light on the NFL’s hiring practices — The Undefeated” — “Brian Flores came with receipts. For the NFL, that’s the most damning part of the stunning lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of the recently deposed Miami Dolphins head coach, who alleges discrimination in hiring in the NFL.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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