Brian Flores' dismissal from the Dolphins leaves the NFL with just two Black head coachesGETTY IMAGES
NFL Exec VP/Football Operations Troy Vincent said that "'there is a double standard' in the league when it comes to retaining as well as hiring Black head coaches," a "pointed public acknowledgement by the league that its teams have fallen short of the goal of increasing diversity within the senior coaching ranks," according to Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST. Vincent said that the league "should not 'shy away from' its record of teams firing Black head coaches after winning seasons or very short tenures." Brian Flores' dismissal from the Dolphins "leaves the league with just two Black head coaches." Vincent cited past cases with prominent Black coaches being let go, including Tony Dungy (Buccaneers), Jim Caldwell (Lions) and Steve Wilks (Cardinals). Vincent: "That is all part of some of the things that we need to fix in the system. We want to hold everyone to why does one, let's say, get the benefit of the doubt to be able to build or take bumps and bruises in this process of getting a franchise turned around when others are not afforded that latitude?" He added, "It is part of the larger challenges that we have. But when you just look over time, it's over-indexing for men of color. These men have been fired after a winning season. How do you explain that?" NFL Senior VP and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Jonathan Beane said if you "look at the history of why the Rooney Rule was created in the first place, it was this very issue" of retention (WASHINGTON POST, 1/12).
EXTRA PRESSURE: In Boston, Gary Washburn writes what is "distressing" about the Flores firing is that the "expectations for such coaches continue to be higher but the leash shorter for Black coaches over their white counterparts." Caldwell "got canned after leading the Lions to consecutive 9-7 seasons" and was replaced by Matt Patricia "because he was a Bill Belichick disciple." Caldwell is "still looking for his next NFL job because the league only appears to feel comfortable with Black retread coaches as coordinators, not head coaches." The NFL has to "reevaluate how it assesses coaches, executives have to get out of their comfort zone and hire someone who doesn't look like them over a low-level coordinator who happens to get a recommendation from an elite coach" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/12). In DC, John Feinstein goes with the header, "The firing of Brian Flores shows the uphill climb Black NFL coaches still face." The NFL media, especially the TV pundits, "always have reasons for why Black coaches aren't hired, or are fired more quickly than their White counterparts." Feinstein: "Here's the thing: It can't always be coincidence" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/12).
A WAY IN: THE UNDEFEATED's Jason Reid wrote as another NFL hiring cycle goes into full swing, the league's frustrated Black assistant coaches "remain eager to finally get into the game significantly." Despite the ongoing efforts for the league office to "encourage owners to expand their thinking regarding inclusive hiring throughout the clubs' football operations, the numbers remain abysmal." Black assistants "would be delighted" if the Jaguars' pursuit of Urban Meyer becomes a "cautionary tale that helps more of them receive legitimate consideration for openings" (THEUNDEFEATED.com, 1/10).