In the name of “equality,” the National Football League wants to make some teams more equal than others.
A proposal that is expected to go before owners on Tuesday would give teams that hire minorities as general managers and head coaches improved draft positions, according to a report on NFL.com based on unnamed sources.
The action is a follow-up to comments made by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell earlier this year.
“Clearly we are not where we want to be on this level,” he said. “It’s clear we need to change. We have already begun discussing those changes, what stages we can take next to determine better outcomes.”
According to the report, a team that hires a minority coach gets a helping hand in the third round of the draft after that coach’s first year by moving up six spots from where it would otherwise pick.
A team that hires a general manager would get to move up 10 spots.
And a team that in the same year fills both a head coach and a general manager with a minority candidate would move up 16 spots in the draft, potentially moving its third-round draft pick into the second round.
The plan throws in a retention incentive. A team that hires a minority coach or general manager gets to have its fourth-round pick move up five places prior to the coach or GM’s third year.
The NFL is also going to consider a plan that would allow assistant coaches more opportunities to move up to be coordinators by changing anti-tampering rules to allow assistant coaches to interview for openings any time between the end of one season and March 1.
The rule would embrace the philosophy that losing is winning by giving draft picks to teams who lose a minority assistant coach. Teams losing assistant coaches who become coordinators would get a fifth-round draft pick as compensation. Teams that lose a coach who becomes either a head coach or general manager gain a third-round compensatory pick.
To push the hiring of minority quarterback coaches, the plan would give any time hiring a minority quarterbacks coach a fourth-round pick if the coach lasts more than one season.
To ensure that minority applicants are in the mix at the level the NFL deems appropriate, the league is also looking at adopting a new rule to double the number of minority candidates who must be interviewed when a team is seeking a head coach. The NFL may also apply the rule to coordinator positions, which are currently not covered by the requirement.
The proposal caused a buzz on Twitter.
12.5 percent of coaches are black and roughly 12 percent of the current American demographic is black. What am I missing here? If it were 50/50 and only 4 were hired then sure but it makes perfect sense statistically.
— Brandon Ramirez (@424brandon) May 15, 2020
Jump six spots for a minority head coach.
Jump 10 spots for a minority GM.
Jump 16 spots for a combo.
More than stupid, this is insulting.
— Will Cain (@willcain) May 15, 2020
In assessing the plan, Charles McDonald, a senior NFL writer for the New York Daily News, found it a mixed bag.
“In a league where the vast majority of the players are African American, it makes sense to add representation for them in positions that wield more power than they do. However, the NFL might want to find a better way to make that happen than rewarding teams with favorable draft positions. Obviously, that takes away a bit from the entire point of the current construct of the NFL Draft,” he wrote.
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