In the wake of ex-Miami Dolphins’ coach Brian Flores’ lawsuit against the league for discriminatory hiring practices, the NFL will now require all teams to hire a minority offensive assistant coach for the upcoming 2022 season.
The league announced their new diversity efforts at Monday’s annual meeting in Florida. Teams can meet the requirement by hiring “a female or a member of an ethnic or racial minority” according to the new policy.
Coaches will be offered a one-year contract, which will be funded by the NFL for up to two years. They will “work closely with the head coach and the offensive staff,” to increase the pool of minority offensive coaches, who typically become the most eligible candidates for head-coach positions.
“It’s a recognition that at the moment, when you look at stepping stones for a head coach, they are the coordinator positions,” said Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II. “We clearly have a trend where coaches are coming from the offensive side of the ball in recent years, and we clearly do not have as many minorities in the offensive coordinator [job].”
Additionally, women will be added to the Rooney Rule, which was established in 2003, to mandate that at least two minorities are interviewed for all open coaching positions. The policy change now stipulates that a minimum of two women and/or minorities are considered.
“The truth of the matter is that, as of today at least, there aren’t many women in the pool in terms of head coach,” Rooney commented.
There are currently 12 women on coaching staffs in the league, along with 39% of minority coaches, which includes 5 head coaches.
Flores brought a federal lawsuit against the NFL with allegations that the interview process is a “sham,” after Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick accidentally texted him that the New York Giants were set on hiring Brian Daboll for the position he was scheduled to interview for three days later.
Flores also claims that Miami Dolphins’ owner Stephen M. Ross bribed him with $100,000 a loss to throw games during the 2019 season. The lawsuit is scheduled to be heard on April 29.