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NFL looks to adjust Rooney Rule to ensure diversity

I wrote on Thursday night about the startling lack of diversity in this year's NFL head coach and GM hires. Based on the reaction from my Twitter account, a lot of white people were upset and insist we live in a post-racial world. Right.

The NFL acknowledged the obvious in a statement on Friday: NFL teams can do better. Here's NFL executive vice president of human resources Robert Gulliver on the hiring of head coaches and general managers:

"While there has been full compliance with the interview requirements of the Rooney Rule and we wish the new head coaches and general managers much success, the hiring results this year have been unexpected and reflect a disappointing lack of diversity. The Rooney Rule has been a valuable tool in expanding diversity and inclusion in hiring practices, but there is more work to do, especially around increasing and strengthening the pipeline of diverse candidates for head coach and senior football executive positions.

"We have already started the process of developing a plan for additional steps that will better ensure more diversity and inclusion on a regular basis in our hiring results. We look forward to discussing these steps with our advisers to ensure that our employment, development and equal opportunity programs are both robust and successful."


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The key takeaway here is the NFL being proactive about a plan for creating "additional steps" to the process. Essentially, it sounds like the NFL is looking into tweaking aspects of the Rooney Rule. Tony Dungy made a great point to ProFootballTalk on Friday: Mike Tomlin was the last African-American head coach to be hired via an external search for candidates. That was six years ago.

At a time when the NFL's record on diversity hiring is moving backwards, it's a good sign the league is willing to be proactive about dragging clubs back in the other direction.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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