Stephen A. Smith says the spirit of the Rooney Rule isn’t being honored.
The rule is an NFL policy that says teams must interview minorities for head coaching jobs and high-up front office positions.
It was something Smith said as some NFL teams either hired a new head coach or are looking for one. And none of those who’ve been hired so far have been Black.
The New York Giants hired Joe Judge, for example, who was the New England Patriots’ special teams coach.
And the Dallas Cowboys hired Mike McCarthy, the former head coach of the Green Bay Packers, while the Carolina Panthers hired former Temple University coach Matt Rhule. The Cleveland Browns, meanwhile, haven’t made a decision about their open position as of this writing.
Smith said he plans to do something about the lack of Black head coaches in the league and refuses to be quiet about it.
“There is a Rooney Rule in place and still this kind of stuff is happening,” he said on ESPN’S “First Take.”
“I want to announce on national television that I personally am going to take it upon myself, whether it’s to communicate with the NFL league office, whether it’s to communicate with owners, whether it’s to sit up here and raise holy hell, whether it’s to recruit my contemporaries in this business to address it, we got a problem. This is some BS,” added Smith.
“Black men are not being treated fairly in the National Football League,” he continued. “Somebody got to say it. When the stuff that has happened over the last year for this stuff to go on, and we just going to sit up here and have a sports conversation. I ain’t having no damn sports conversation at this particular moment.”
Smith’s words sparked plenty of comments on social media sites like Twitter, and many said they’re in total agreement with him about the Rooney Rule not working like it was intended to.
“The whole process of the Rooney Rule is a sham, and it’s a way for franchises to tick the proverbial box of showing that they look at a candidate of color with no intention of hiring them,” someone tweeted.
“For those of you missing the point, the Rooney Rule has simply become a check in the box,” wrote someone else. “Interview a black coach, check the box, move on. A mockery is being made of the intent of the rule. You all didn’t ACTUALLY think the @dallascowboys were going to hire Marvin Lewis, did u?”
“Totally agree,” another person followed. “They bring in a black guy just to say we interviewed one. But no intent on hiring.”
As of this writing, there are two Black head coaches in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin and the Los Angeles Chargers’ Anthony Lynn.