In February, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a bombshell complaint against the NFL over its hiring practices regarding minority coach applicants and the treatment of minority coaches. The NFL has responded with a new policy, but at least one current Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll doesn’t think that’s enough.
The longtime college and pro head coach “passed away” during league meetings last week. And some owners are not happy.
NFL responded to Brian Flores lawsuit by adding offensive mandate
It’s nearly impossible to read the Brian Flores lawsuit and not see there’s a problem with hiring minority head coaches in the NFL. How to solve the problem is much less obvious, and unbiased people may disagree on the best solutions.
The NFL is trying to fix the problem with a new mandate on the offensive side of the ball. Black and minority coaches are far more prevalent on defense, while more head coaches generally come from the offensive side.
Of the six minority head coaches in 2022, five – Mike Tomlin, Ron Rivera, Robert Saleh, Lovie Smith and Todd Bowles – have defensive pasts. Only multiracial Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel comes on the offensive side.
To help level the playing field, the NFL is requiring that, for the 2022 season, all 23 teams must have at least one minority assistant — “a woman or member of an ethnic or racial minority” — on the offensive side, per ESPN.
The NFL owners have also taken steps to add women to the Rooney Rule, created a diversity advisory committee and “issued a mission statement to encourage and attract diverse members of potential ownership groups.”
However, owners have refrained from requiring diversity in ownership groups.
Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll thinks it’s not enough
Some, like Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II, hail those mandates and mission statements as positive steps in the right direction. However, others vehemently disagree. That includes Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
A day after the owners announced their updated initiatives, Carroll took to the podium to speak to a group of general managers and coaches, per ESPN. That’s where he “went,” a source told ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter:
He just left. He said you can do anything, but until the owners get to know these candidates before the actual interviews and understand that they have to hire different people from them, that won’t really change.
Anonymous sources on Pete Carroll at NFL league meetings
Schefter reported that the speech lasted about 10 minutes. But he did not say what the reaction in the room was. He reported that when NFL owners learned what Carroll had said about them, they “weren’t happy.”
The Flores trial is gaining momentum
More than two months after Brian Flores filed his groundbreaking lawsuit against the NFL, the movement is gaining momentum. The NFL has responded, and (some) white defenders, like Pete Carroll, are speaking up and challenging NFL owners on their practices.
The lawsuit is also gaining plaintiffs, which means it is gaining strength. Two black NFL coaches add their names to Flores’ complaint. One of those men is former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilkes. He is currently the defensive passing coordinator and secondary coach for the Carolina Panthers. The other is Ray Horton, a longtime defensive assistant with multiple teams who is now retired.
The inclusion of Horton is particularly interesting. This comes with the recent discovery of a 2020 interview with former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Mularkey.
The former head coach joined the Kingdom of the Steelers Podcast two years ago, and the hosts asked him what his biggest career regret was. Mularkey said he was involved in the Titans’ hiring process in 2016, which landed him the job. He told the hosts it was a ‘fake hiring process’ where minority coaches ‘have no chance of getting the job’, according to CBS Sports.
Horton was part of this interview process. And, ironically, when the Titans fired Mularkey in 2018, Wilkes was interviewed for the job the same day as former NFL linebacker Mike Vrabel, who got the job and is still coaching the team in 2022.
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