Fritz Pollard Alliance names award for Tagliabue

NEW YORK -- The Fritz Pollard Alliance has created the Paul J. Tagliabue Award of Excellence in honor of the former NFL commissioner.

The award goes to a league or team executive who demonstrates the integrity and leadership Tagliabue exhibited in career development opportunities for minority candidates and advocacy for diversity on the league and club level, the alliance announced Wednesday.

The presentation will take place on Feb. 2, during Super Bowl week, in Indianapolis at the Pollard Alliance reception and dinner.

The alliance cited Tagliabue's influence in 2002 on the formation of the league's first diversity committee of owners, chaired by Dan Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Within two months, a diversity plan was introduced that mandated each NFL team interview at least one minority candidate before hiring a head coach.

Formed in 2003, the Fritz Pollard Alliance is an affinity group of NFL minority coaches, scouts and front office personnel.

Tagliabue, who resigned as commissioner in 2006, has returned to his old law firm, Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., where he served as NFL outside counsel before becoming commissioner in 1989.

A Georgetown University basketball player and Rhodes Scholarship finalist in the late 1950s, Tagliabue now serves as chairman of the board of trustees at his alma mater.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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