The NFL launched a new policy on Monday (March 28) that requires all teams to hire a minority for an offensive coaching position this upcoming season. The new hiring mandate not only includes “ethnic and racial minorities,” but has also expanded the term “minority” to include women.
“It’s really an effort to try to bring more talented minority coaches to the offensive side of the ball, both within the league and hopefully attract those talented individuals from the college ranks,” the chairman of the NFL Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee Art Rooney II said.
According to ABC News, offensive coordinator roles have historically been “stepping stones” to getting head coach positions, so this is an effort to increase opportunities for women and people of color to reach senior-level roles.
Under a policy known as the Rooney Rule, since 2003 the NFL has required its teams to interview at least two minority candidates when hiring for notable positions. The rule has now expanded "minority candidates" to include women "on all levels."
So teams aren’t required to hire women of color under the league’s rules — a team could interview 2 white women and would meet the mandate by hiring one of them.
Rooney said including women in the definition of minority won’t interfere with coaching opportunities for people of color since there are so few women that have obtained NFL positions.
"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," he added. "We hope that is going to change over the years, but for that reason we didn't see it as inhibiting the number of interviews for racial minorities at this point in time. Obviously, we can address that as time goes on, but for now we didn't see that as an issue."
This new policy comes amid the NFL creating a new diversity advisory committee on Monday that will focus on implementing best practices for all hiring processes, particularly concerning head coaches. These recent changes have been implemented to address criticism that the NFL’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts have continued to fall short.