Steve Wyche on why the NFL's minority hiring plan is controversial
"Anything that is having to take place now is a self-inflicted wound"
By Cameron Hogwood
Last Updated: 19/05/20 1:43pm
One of the major topics in Tuesday's virtual meeting between NFL owners will be the vote on incentivising the hiring of minority head coaches and general managers.
The new proposals state if a team hires a minority head coach it will move up six spots from its third-round pick in the draft the following year. A team would also move up by 10 picks by hiring a minority as general manager, meaning a team could jump 16 picks by appointing diverse candidates to both roles.
A team's fourth-round selection would also rise by five picks if a minority coach or general manager is still in the job entering the third season after their hire.
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There are also plans to build on the Rooney Rule, first established from 2003, by increasing the requirement for teams to interview at least one minority candidate for vacant head coach jobs to at least two minority candidates.
NFL Network's Steve Wyche told Sky Sports News: "The big conversation piece here has been a plan to increase minority hiring in coaches and general managers which could include, let's for example say 'if you hire a black head coach then you can move up six picks in the third round for doing so'.
"It's been met with tremendous blow back, especially by the black coaches who feel that 'okay so you're compromising my hard work and integrity and competence by saying you wouldn't hire a black coach before, but now you get to hire me and move up?'. There's a lot of controversy around it."
Ron Rivera was the only minority head coach to fill one of the five open vacancies after the 2019 season as he joined the Washington Redskins.
He is joined by the Los Angeles Chargers' Anthony Lynn, the Miami Dolphins' Brian Flores and the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin as the league's only minority head coaches. Chris Grier of the Dolphins and Andrew Berry of the Cleveland Browns are the league's only two minority general managers.
The Kansas City Chiefs' Eric Bieniemy, who was interviewed but not hired for several head coaching roles earlier this year, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Byron Leftwich are the only two minority offensive coordinators in the league.
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"Right now there's the Rooney Rule in place, teams have skirted that," added Wyche. "They'll interview a black guy down the hall, and say 'that's that, now let's hire the guy we want'.
"The proposals that are on the table are far more radical because Roger Goodell said leading up to the Super Bowl the plans in place have just not taken effect, he doesn't trust his 32 owners to do anything different without their hand being forced a little bit.
"To me it's not just the owners who are at fault here because when head coaches get hired, they're the ones that hire their coordinators, they're the ones not hiring coordinators of colour either.
"Something in that system has got to change if the NFL wants to meet its goals of being inclusive and diverse and frankly hiring the best candidates. A lot of times not all the best candidates are getting hired because guys are hiring their bodies and people they know."
The measures come after the NFL recorded its lowest score in 15 years in the 2019 NFL Racial and Gender Report Card.
Changes would also see any team hiring a minority quarterback coach gain a fourth-round compensatory pick, while a team that loses somebody to be a minority head coach or general manager would receive a third-round compensatory pick.
Wyche continued: "Eric Bieniemy, the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs, has had his head coach Andy Reid telling anyone who will listen 'he is a head coach, he can handle a whole roster, he can develop everything he has to develop from players to daily practice, game plans'.
"He gets four or five interviews and doesn't get a job and some other guys who don't have his credentials get jobs, come on. Anything that is having to take place now is a self-inflicted wound.
"Not necessarily by the league because the league has been pushing for this, but by the teams themselves who frankly haven't given hiring minority coaches and general managers much thought."
Owners will also vote on lifting the ban that allows teams to block coordinators and position coaches from interviewing for positions with other teams.