NFL could use draft picks to incentive teams hiring minority candidates

The NFL may use draft pick compensation as a means to entice teams to hire minority head coaches and general managers. Here are the details.

The NFL is currently at a 17-year low when it comes to ethnic diversity at the head coach and general manager position and the NFL wants to use draft pick rewards to entice teams to hire minority candidates.

NFL owners will vote on a proposal next week that would provide an incentive for diversifying these roles, according to NFL Network’s Jim Trotter. The said proposal would increase a team’s draft position if they hire a candidate of color as a head coach or general manager.

This proposal would include somewhat of a points system. There’s a set amount of spots a team can move up with a select draft pick by hiring a coach or executive of color. Retention and filling both positions of color would present additional incentives. Specifics are below:

“If a team hires a minority head coach, that team, in the draft preceding the coach’s second season, would move up six spots from where it is slotted to pick in the third round. A team would jump 10 spots under the same scenario for hiring a person of color as its primary football executive, a position more commonly known as general manager.

“If a team were to fill both positions with diverse candidates in the same year, that club could jump 16 spots — six for the coach, 10 for the GM — and potentially move from the top of the third round to the middle of the second round. Another incentive: a team’s fourth-round pick would climb five spots in the draft preceding the coach’s or GM’s third year if he is still with the team.“

The NFL’s current Rooney Rule requires a team to interview at least one head coach or general manager of color when a team is looking to fill a vacancy. In addition, the team has to do this external to prevent a hiring staff from walking down the hallway to interview a staff member of color as a technicality to fulfill the requirement, says Steelers owner Art Rooney II in an interview with NFL Network’s Steve Wyche.

Even with the rule, the NFL now sees its lowest point of diversity at head coach and executive roles since the original rule was implemented. Even worse, positions such as coordinators and even entry-level positions present diversity issues as well. Positions as low as quality control coaches are often going to family members of an organization’s staff, Wyche said.

The overall goal is to encourage teams to hire qualified coaches of color to diversify organizations. The lack of diversity has caused teams to miss out on quality candidates and its trickle-down effect can be discouraging to prospective candidates of color. For a league where 70 percent of its athletes are people of color, the disparity is clear.

Next: 5 ex-NFL coaches who will be auditioning for a top job in 2020

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