As we approach the anniversary of the birthday of famed civil rights leader Martin Luther King, many people, including those in the sports world, are compelled to look at the progress of minorities in the world. Certainly they have come along way, even if you just look at the last fifty years.
One particular area that minorities have begun to break into, especially on the professional level, is head coach of a major football program. Now more than any time in history, there are more African Americans that are head coaches in the NFL. And there are probably many reasons for that. Increased opportunity, continued success at the coaching level, etc, are only a few of the reasons minorities occupy more head coaching positions in the NFL. Some would even say that this is due to the "Rooney Rule" named after Steelers owner Dan Rooney, which states that every NFL front office must interview at least one minority candidate when conducting a head coach search. I would argue that it has little impact, if any. In fact, I would go on to argue that if the NFL wants to see more minorities in the NFL, the Rooney Rule should be done away with altogether.
Why abandon the Rooney Rule? Simple. There is no concrete evidence to support that it will lead to more minority head coaches in the first place. More importantly, however, is that it gives teams the opportunity to bring in a token candidate, whom they have no intention of hiring, for an interview just to fulfill the requirement. Not only does this give the potential candidate the false hope he has a chance for the job, it also pointlessly wastes a franchise's time and money in the process. And, at the end of the day, we are no nearer to have more minorities in head coaching positions than when we started.
So, you're probably asking now, if the Rooney Rule is abolished, what is my solution? The short answer is, I don't have one. Hire the best candidate for the job, and if he happens to be a minority, so be it. Detractors say this unfairly targets minorities, whom may not be considered for such positions without the rule. But what about non-minority candidates who get passed over because of the Rooney rule? The NFL is a business, and, as such, must hire the most qualified individual for the job. And therein lies the utlimate fallacy of the "Rooney Rule."