Roger Goodell says the NFL has fallen short of giving minorities head coaching opportunities

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said on Wednesday the league has fallen short of giving minorities head coaching opportunities after it was hit with a lawsuit last week alleging discrimination in its hiring practices, CNN Reported.

During his “State of the League” address ahead of Super Bowl LVI on Sunday, Goodell said the league has fallen short by “a long shot,” adding it should look at changes in hiring processes, according to CNN. 

"I don't think you take anything off the table until you have people look at that, help us independently say, is there something flawed with our process? And if there is, what can we do to resolve that and fix that?" Goodell said at the press conference. 

Goodell added the league made “a tremendous amount of progress" on establishing diversity in league offices and teams, but has failed in the head coaching position, CNN reported. 

"So what we're going to do is step back and look at everything we're doing today," Goodell said. "Everything from looking at the Rooney Rule and seeing what changes should be made to that, if any changes or should it be removed, which some people have suggested. All of those things are part of that."

The Rooney Rule requires NFL teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching jobs and other senior roles. 

"We won't tolerate racism. We won't tolerate discrimination," Goodell said. "If there are policies that we need to modify, we're going to do that ... If we see evidence of discrimination, we will deal with that in a very serious way."

Goodell’s remarks come after former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit against the league and three teams — the Dolphins, New York Giants, and Denver Broncos — last week alleging race discrimination in its hiring practices. 

Flores’ lawsuit also brought the effectiveness of the Rooney Rule into question. When he filed the lawsuit, there was only one Black head coach in the NFL, Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Dolphins, whose owner Flores accused of attempting to pay him to lose games, has since hired Mike McDaniel, who is biracial, as their next head coach. And the Houston Texans, hired Lovie Smith, who is Black, as their head coach.

Flores was a finalist for the Texans position, and his lawyers said this week that he believes the lawsuit cost him the job. In interviews after filing the lawsuit, Flores said he understood the risks. 

"We didn't have to file a lawsuit for the world to know that there's a problem from from a hiring standpoint in regards to minority coaches in the National Football League. The numbers speak for themselves. We filed the lawsuit so that we could create some change," he said.

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