The Rooney Rule

The Black athlete has often times been the first to break colour lines, with the Brooklyn Dodgers starting Jackie Robinson on first base in 1947, to Jesse Owens’ feat in the 1938 Olympics in Munich. The physical prowess of the Black athlete has never been in question, but it took a long time for the Black intellect to be recognised in sport.

Dan Rooney & Mike Tomlin

Dan Rooney & Mike Tomlin

Rooney Rule – since 2003

The Rooney Rule was established in 2003 for the NFL, and states that teams must interview a minority candidate for a head coaching or senior footballing operations job. Even though Black athletes make up about 60% of the total athletes in the NFL, at the time of the Rooney Rule, there were only 2 Black head coaches (the NFL consists of 32 teams). In 2006, the overall percentage had jumped from 6% to 22%. Currently, it stands at 12.5% which compared favorably to the 12.4% of total African-Americans in the US. It could well be more, but as long as Black athletes keep beating their wives, kids and can’t stay Off the Weed, the sterotypes and prejudices will remain.

In England many people like Paul Ince and Chris Powell are calling for the Rooney Rule, as it seems that even though there are qualified coaches and managers with eperience, they aren’t being considered for the top jobs. Or maybe there aren’t so many potential Black managers out there. Many like Chris Kamara, Stan Collymore and Robbie Earl choosing to become TV personalities and pundits. Do they do that because they know their chances are slim? Or is the small number attributed to better oppurtunities?

Perhaps the implementation of the Rooney Rule can stop someone like John Terry getting a coaching job one day. God forbid.



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