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NFL approves initiative to incentivize diversity hiring

The NFL has approved a proposal to offer incentives for diversity hiring. Yahoo Sports Reporter Shalise Manza Young discusses.

Video Transcript


- Welcome back to "Yahoo Finance Live." A big change is being instituted in the NFL. A sports league that a lot of Americans care about, and that has also struggled with a diversity problem there when you consider how few head coaches in the league are actually men or women of color. On that front, the league, which has already had the Rooney Rule in place which requires teams to interview an ethnic minority candidates for head coaching positions, is instituting a new rule that will give teams awards for putting candidates in those positions that are minorities that develop into head coaching and other sports, top management roles here. And it's an interesting new strategy, but will it be enough to actually bring about those diversity boost?

Here to discuss that with us is Shalise Manza Young. Yahoo Sports reporter joins us now. And Shalise, I mean, you kind of got pro/con here because clearly the Rooney Rule hasn't done much to bring about some of these changes the league wants to institute. What do you make of the new change now?

SHALISE MANZA YOUNG: You know, as I wrote earlier this week, it just sort of feels like putting lipstick on a pig. It's-- it's 2020 and the NFL just keeps trying to invent new ways to incentivize, you know, diversifying the number of general managers and head coaches. In a league that is over 2/3 men of color, in terms of the players, you only right now have three Black men is that coaches. You have one man, Ron Rivera in Washington, who is Mexican, Puerto Rican, I believe, and then the general manager right now is even worse. There are only two Black men who are, like, GMs in actual name, and Rivera is sort of the de facto GM in Washington right now.

So, you know, the problem is NFL owners. It doesn't matter how many rules or how many boxes they're supposed to check. If they're not committed to hiring the best person for the job or they're not scared off by the idea that, well, what am I going to have in common with a Black man who's a GM? It's like, you know, that shouldn't matter. You know, at the end of the day, what these owners tell us all the time is they're-- they're about winning.

And you know, we've seen Black coaches have success. We've seen some Black coaches fail, but we've obviously seen a lot of white coaches fail. Ask the New York Jets how they're-- or Jets fans how they're feeling about Adam Gase right about now, they're head coach. So those opportunities, at the end of the day, they should be going to the men who deserve them, and you know, the Rooney Rule doesn't seem like it's made much of an impact in 15, almost 20 years since it's been instituted. And I don't know that, you know, the prize for developing Black men who become GMs and head coaches is necessarily going to help either.

- Well, I mean, let's talk about that because we're talking about third round draft picks, right? I mean-- I mean, how significant is that. How big of an incentive is that for teams that are developing these coaches or future head coaches, people of color?

SHALISE MANZA YOUNG: Yeah, I mean, it's a pro/con thing. At the end of the day, if you're leading an organization, developing your people should be something you do anyway. You know, if you're an NFL team, the better your assistant coaches are, in theory, the better your team is going to be, and the better your front office is, the better you're going to do in terms of drafting, and player acquisition, and salary cap, and those sorts of things. So, you know, incentivizing that, it shouldn't be. It should just be that winning and having the best possible team is enough.

And the other thing I think you can argue to is, if you are-- you know, if you are a team, let's say-- I'm trying to think-- if you have a team, you know, that-- are you going to hire somebody from a division opponent? And you know, if you do value those third round draft picks, if you hire Eric Bieniemy as the somebody who is should have been head coach by now, he's the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs. Hopefully, he will finally get a head coaching job this year.

But if he's hired by another AFC West team, would that happen because then the Chiefs are-- you know, you're potentially helping the Chiefs who are already one of the best teams in football, like, bring them more draft picks. So the end of the third round, it's not terrible, but you know, I also could see a scenario, again, where a division opponent might not actually help the Chiefs, even if Eric Bieniemy is the best man for their job.

- I mean, you can make a very good case that he is the best man for the job considering how that Chiefs offense has looked. But a big question mark still remains on whether or not this is going to boost it since, you know, you're going to have to give up the talent here to get that third round pick. So it's a big question, but we'll see what happens. Obviously, the Rooney Rule has not done much, as you said, to really change all this. But Shalise Manza Young, Yahoo Sports reporter with us. Appreciate you coming on a chat that.