NFL looking to update diversity practices, offensive assistant requirement put in place

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has created a diversity advisory committee to review its policies pertaining to the employment of people of color and women on Thursday in hopes of creating more coaching and leadership opportunities.

Kevin Seifert of ESPN reported that the six-person committee has already created a requirement that all 32 teams must employ “a diverse person” to serve as an offensive assistant.

The employee will receive a one-year contract and work alongside the head coach and offensive staff to begin accruing experience at the NFL level. Meanwhile, the teams will receive reimbursement from a league-wide fund to provide the person’s salary for up to two years.

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Their findings indicated that most head coaches have come from the offensive side of the ball, which is why they chose to start in that department.

“We believe this resolution will assist greatly in continuing to source and identify diverse candidates earlier in their career,” the statement began, “providing pipeline depth and furthering developing the diverse offensive pipeline.”

This new legislation is the first attempt to rectify the Rooney Rule, which required teams to interview at least two external minority candidates for executive and coaching roles. In its 19 years, however, the results have been underwhelming to the point where there are currently only two Black head coaches in the league: Lovie Smith (Houston Texans) and Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers).

Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores helped bring the overarching issues with the Rooney Rule to light after he sued the NFL in a race class-action suit in February. Flores was surprisingly fired from his job despite winning eight of his final nine games of the 2021 season.

Flores was recently up for the head-coaching jobs of the New York Giants, New Orleans Saints, and Denver Broncos, but did not get them — alleging that interest in him was just a formality to appease the Rooney Rule.

He has since been brought on by Tomlin as a linebackers coach for the Steelers.