Sports Law Blog
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Saturday, December 13, 2003

NFL Issues Minority Interviewing Guide: The NFL has released 10 guidelines that all teams must follow when hiring a new head coach. The guidelines are part of the league's year-old policy to encourage the hiring of minority candidates for head coaching positions, which was instituted following complaints by Cyrus Mehri and Johnnie Cochran concerning the NFL's hiring practices.

The Detroit Lions were fined $200,000 last year when it hired Steve Mariucci without interviewing a minority candidate, despite the team's claim that 5 minority candidates turned down an interview. The Florida Marlins were reportedly fined by Major League Baseball in the spring after hiring Jack McKeon without interviewing any minority candidates. McKeon then led the Marlins to the World Series title five months later.

These steps by the league, while perhaps good on their face, so not seem like they will solve any problems. If a team is committed to one candidate, they will bring in one or two minority candidates for "interviews," while not seriously considering them for the job. It will waste the candidate's time, the team's time and allow the leagues to say they are remedying the problem without really solving anything. The league should be more focused on educating its minority players while they are in the league and giving them the skills that will make them great NFL head coaches in the future.


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