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The 5 O'Clock Club: The Rooney Rule

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere...

The 5 o’clock club aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.

A recent article from Pro Football Talk suggests that the NFL and the Fritz Pollard Association (tasked with auditing compliance with the Rooney Rule) are softening enforcement, and that the rule is “showing its age”.

The key example in the article was last month’s firing of Carolina Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman, and the hire of Marty Hurney as the interim General Manager.

If a team decides after the draft (as teams sometimes do) to hire a new G.M. and the owner knows who he’ll hire, the owner can easily avoid an inclusive search by tapping the brakes until the eve of training camp, firing the G.M., and hiring the replacement on an “interim” basis. That’s quite possibly what Panthers owner Jerry Richardson did in bringing back Marty Hurney for a year; if so, it’s not like anyone will admit that.

Curiously, the Fritz Pollard Alliance has no issue with the league’s decision to allow the Panthers to hire a G.M. for an entire season without complying with the Rooney Rule. And it’s just the latest example of the group responsible for promoting the hiring of minorities getting along by going along instead of being a staunch and zealous defender of the letter and integrity of the Rooney Rule.

During the Redskin front office re-organization in June, following the sacking of former General Manager, Scot McCloughan, there was criticism from a number of media outlets about the lack of transparency, and possible disregard for the Rooney Rule in Washington.

Because the process ended with Doug Williams (apparently) being promoted to the top of the personnel tree, the criticism disappeared once the result was announced. The result, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the Redskins complied with the Rooney rule, just as the earlier criticism from some journalists didn’t mean that the Dan & Bruce were failing to comply.

A glance at the Redskins team website shows a number of key front office executives who appear to be from minority groups, including, at a high level, Alex Santos, the Director of Pro Personnel. Does this have anything to do with the Rooney Rule, or would key executives like Doug Williams and Alex Santos have gotten where they are even without it?

Is there a need for the Rooney Rule in 2017?

Does the NFL (and perhaps the government that allows the league to operate as a monopoly business) need to look critically at the enforcement of the league’s own rule?


Do the Redskins now have the right structure in place in the front office to ensure a well-run, winning franchise?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    (5 votes)
  • 25%
    (28 votes)
  • 48%
    Probably not
    (54 votes)
  • 21%
    That’s a definite "no"
    (24 votes)
111 votes total Vote Now