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The Rooney Rule - Essay Example

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The application of Rooney Rule has given the ethnic minority candidates new opportunities for posts such as head coaching and other senior football operations. Rooney Rule is “named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, who is also the chairman of the NFL” (Connerly para. 6) Committee on Workplace Diversity. Rooney noted institutionalized racism in the hierarchy at football clubs. Dan Rooney chaired a committee in 2003 to study about the existence of racism in the recruitment process against the members of ethnic minority groups and in favor of the majority whites. The committee was not able to acquire concrete proof of discrimination. It was difficult for them to find out the discriminatory animus existed within the hierarchy of football teams. They did not even found even a paper trail demonstrating it. It was by comparing the hired percentage of the ethnic minority members to that of whites that the committee came to a conclusion that racist discretion did exist in the football teams. This is evident from the data which showed NFL's black players at about 70 percent, African-American assistant coaches at 28 percent and African-American head coaches at 6 percent, at the time of the study. This study resulted in Rooney Rule, which became effective in giving opportunities to African-Americans or the members of other ethnic minority groups.        The NFL briefing on the Rooney rule from December 20, 2002 states that: “On the December 19-20 conference calls, the owners strongly agreed on the principle that any club seeking to hire a head coach will interview one or more minority applicants for the position. The one exception occurs when a club has made a prior contractual commitment to promote a member of its own staff and no additional interviewing takes place (e.g. Mike Martz and the St. Louis Rams in 2000)” (Canfora para. 3).        Since the Rooney Rule was established by the NFL, there has been a significant rise in the number of African American coaches. The racial inequality which existed in the playoff wins before pre-Rooney era, during 1990 – 2002, favored white coaches. This trend disappeared after the implementation of Rooney Rule. The affirmative action by the NFL to open up more head coach positions to the members of the minority group through interviews has thus reduced racial disparity in the recruitment process.        Janice Fanning Madden and Matthew Ruther in their study "Has the NFL’s Rooney Rule Efforts “Leveled the Field” for African American Head Coach Candidates?" for the Journal of Sports Economics looks critically at the effects brought by Rooney Rule. The authors suggested that racism did exist in the Football teams as they hired only those African Americans as head coaches in their teams who were better than the average white head coaches. The authors from their comparative study of layoff wins during 1990 - 2002 and 2003 - 2009 found out that during the pre-Rooney Rule era, the teams headed by African American coaches gave an average of 9.1 wins per year compared to 8 average wins of those teams which were guided by White Head coaches. The difference between the average wins of the African-American first-year coaches to that of Whites also differed, 9.6 wins: 7.0 wins. Also, the number of Afr ...Show more
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Sociology November 06, 2011 The Rooney Rule       Rooney Rule, established in the year 2003 by National Football League, is considered as a fine example for affirmative action. This rule instructs that the teams should interview at least one ethnic “minority candidate when filling a head coaching position” (Ferrey para…
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The Rooney Rule
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