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Tennessee Titans v Houston Texans

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Black NFL head coach David Culley was fired from the Houston Texans last week. He is the second NFL Black head coach in a week to be fired from the job.

Under Culley, the Texans went 4-13 but played the entire season without star quarterback Deshaun Watson, who did not play due to 22 allegations of sexual misconduct.

After just 3 seasons, the Miami Dolphins fired Black head coach Brian Flores, who finished the season at 9-8, just missing the playoffs. The move came as a shock to fans because Flores did have some glimpses of success. Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is the only remaining black head coach in the NFL.

For almost a decade, the NFL has expressed it wants to become more diverse on the sidelines as well as in the front office.

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins

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In 2003, the NFL created the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview at least one “diverse” candidate when looking to hire new coaches. The rule was expanded in 2009 to include general managers as well as other front-office positions.

In 2019, the NFL partnered with Jay-Z and Roc Nation to enhance the NFL’s live game experiences and to amplify the league’s social justice effort. Although moves like these create a perception of diversity building in the NFL, the reality is the league is no more diverse than it was 10 years ago.

When Cullen was hired last year, NFL commissioner Roger Goodall criticized owners for only hiring two minority coaches, one of which was Black. “That’s not what we expect going forward,” said Goodell.

NFL executive Vice President of football operations, Troy Vincent also called out the league saying the system needs to be fixed.

“There is a double standard,” said Vincent in an interview with The Washington Post. “I don’t think that that is something that we should shy away from. But that is all part of some of the things that we need to fix in the system.”

“Why does one, let’s say, get the benefit of the doubt to be able to build or take bumps and bruises in this process of getting a franchise turned around when others are not afforded that latitude?“

The broken system time and time again has kept black coaches on a short leash and a few mistakes even during a winning season can cost them their jobs.

Tony Dungy was fired from the Buccaneers after a 54-42 regular-season record during a six-year run. In 2006, Dungy would eventually win the Super Bowl as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. Jim Caldwell was fired from the Detroit Lions in 2017 after 3 winning seasons in 4 years. Steve Wilks was fired from the Arizona Cardinals after just one season.

The NFL can claim it’s building a diverse league, but where is the proof? 58% of NFL players are Black and until half the league is filled with Black coaches, the NFL will always have a diversity problem.


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