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January 2, 2019

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NFL on mat over lack of minority coaches

The National Football League is under the microscope for lack of minority head coaches after a recent slew of firings in the league.

Only two African American head coaches and one general manager remain after multiple coaches were axed on Monday following the end of the regular season.

Marvin Lewis left the top job at the Cincinnati Bengals, one of six head coaches ditched within 12 hours of the end of the regular season as teams acted swiftly in the wake of disappointing campaigns.

Lewis had been in the job for 16 years, the longest tenure in franchise history.

Only Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots (19 years) has been at the helm of an NFL team for longer.

“Not a good look for diversity today in the NFL,” NFL Network’s Jim Trotter tweeted on Tuesday.

“In 2006, when Commissioner (Roger) Goodell was hired, there were seven minority coaches and four minority general managers. Today there are three minority HCs and 1 minority GM after Ozzie (Newsome) retires.”

The NFL parted ways with five African American coaches this season — Hue Jackson (Cleveland Browns), Lewis (Cincinnati), Todd Bowles (New York Jets), Steve Wilks (Arizona Cardinals) and Vance Joseph (Denver Broncos).

Two African American coaches remain in Anthony Lynn — of the playoff-bound Los Angeles Chargers — and Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin who has a Super Bowl to his name.

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who is Latino, is the only other minority head coach. Baltimore Ravens general manager Newsome will step down at the end of the team’s playoff run this season.

Fox Sports Radio host Clay Travis was a dissenting voice amid the focus on minority hires. “Why should diversity be an NFL goal? Black head coaches didn’t win and were fired. Just like white head coaches were,” Travis said on Twitter.

“NFL’s a meritocracy & coaching talent is rare. White and black coaches are being treated the exact same. As they should be.”

But the NFL has made a point to focus on minority and African American hires in a league where 70 percent of the players are African American.

The NFL enacted the Rooney Rule in 2003 which requires league teams to interview ethnic-minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs.

The results have been mixed and following an owners’ meeting the league recently announced that it was strengthening coaching and executive hire rules.

It remains to be seen whether those rules or recent rumblings will lead to new minority hires to fill the current vacancies.

Adam Gase was fired by the Miami Dolphins while Tampa Bay Buccaneers sacked coach Dirk Koetter on Sunday.


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