National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial, National Action Network Founder and President Rev. Al Sharpton, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation President and CEO Melanie Campbell, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson, and National African American Clergy Network co-convener Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner requested the meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after some racial disparities in the league.
The virtual meeting was called after former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores accused the NFL and three teams – the Giants, Broncos, and Dolphins – of racial discrimination in a proposed class-action lawsuit last week.
The group of civil rights activists are calling for a replacement of the Rooney Rule.
What is the Rooney Rule?
The Rooney Rule was established in 2003 and requires teams to interview candidates of color for head coaching and senior football operation positions.
The group is not only seeking specific recruiting and hiring procedures for NFL executive and coaching positions, but they are also seeking “meaningful consequences for teams that do not abide by the rules.”
“The Rooney Rule has been proven to be something the owners used to deceptively appear to be seeking real diversity,” Sharpton said. “We must have firm targets and timetables.”
“The effect of the Rooney Rule has been for team decision-makers to regard interviews with candidates of color as an extraneous step, rather than an integral part of the hiring process,” Morial said. “The gravity of the situation is long past the crisis point.”
Of the meeting, Johnson said, “It’s simply not enough for the league to declare its good intentions. This is a longstanding crisis that must be confronted with diligence and rigor.”