The Stupidity of the Rooney Rule

By Deane Barker tags: social-justice

The NFL’s Rooney Rule is ridiculous. It says that teams have to interview minority coaches for open coaching positions. This leads to ridiculous situations like this:

Another indicator [that the 49ers have hired Jim Harbaugh] is that the 49ers are rapidly trying to interview Oakland OC Hugh Jackson presumably to fill the NFL’s Rooney Rule requirements. Jackson is expected to actually be named the HC of the Oakland Raiders who fired Tom Cable this evening.

That’s right – the San Francisco 49ers have come an agreement with Jim Harbaugh for the head coaching position. But – whoops! – they didn’t interview any minorities, so they’re scrambling to interview Hue Jackson, the current Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator.

This, despite the fact that Hue Jackson is about to be named head coach of the Raiders. This is not a secret. In fact, the Raiders fired Tom Cable earlier than planned so they could promote Jackson, just to avoid losing him to the 49ers.

So, the 49ers are interviewing a minority who they do not intend to hire and who would never agree to the position (he already has an equivalent job with a better team), just so the NFL won’t fine them.

Think I’m kidding? They fined the Lions $200,000 back in 2003. From the Wikipedia article:

After Marty Mornhinweg was fired, the Lions immediately hired former San Francisco 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci to replace him without interviewing any other candidates. The Lions claimed they attempted to interview other candidates but that the minority candidates withdrew from interviews, believing Mariucci’s hiring was inevitable

So, apparently the Lions should have pretended they didn’t want to hire Mariucci just so minority candidates could essentially be tricked into interviewing for a position which was already filled.

Using this same logic, Hue Jackson should refuse to interview with the 49ers. The Raiders are Bay Area rivals of the 49ers, and this would be a great way to screw them over. If they don’t interview minorities, they get fined. Since we all know they’ve hired Harbaugh and this is all just high theater, Jackson should agree to interview just long enough so the 49ers start scheduling the Harbaugh press conference behind-the-scenes, then refuse the interview at the last minute. Hilarity should ensue.

How, exactly, is this progress?

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