The NFL’s so-called Rooney Rule is named for Steelers owner Dan Rooney (and namesake of the other Mara girl):


The rule was established in his name because Rooney, as the chairman of the league’s diversity committee, had a long history of hiring African-Americans for leadership roles. Minority candidates have to be interviewed for coaching and executive openings, since the study showed that “black head coaches, despite winning a higher percentage of games, were less likely to be hired and more likely to be fired than their white counterparts.” There’s nothing wrong with the rule, but many times, it seems teams follow it just to get the minority interview out of the way before they get on to the real candidates, whatever color their skin may be.

According to Jason Cole, that’s exactly what the NFL thinks the Eagles did with their interview of Duce Staley. Cole reports that the league felt interviewing Staley “was a way to manipulate the Rooney Rule, [to] get around the rule quickly so they could hire whoever they wanted to right away and not give a legitimate interview to a minority candidate.”

I see what the NFL is saying here, but without being in on the interview (or talking to Duce), how do they know how legitimate or illegitimate the interview was? In response to the league, the Eagles reportedly said that Duce requested the interview himself, because he thought he was one of the best candidates for the job, and they felt obliged to give one of their own people an interview.

The NFL is right about one thing: Duce doesn’t seem like a legitimate candidate, but that doesn’t mean Roseman and Lurie didn’t go in with an open mind.

Kyle: Yeah, the NFL is likely spot-on here, but they can go pound sand. The rule is stupid. If a minority coach deserves the job, he’ll get it. Implementing a rule that one has to be interviewed – and have their time wasted if the team has no intention of hiring him (or her!) anyway – just to keep up with appearances patronizes minority coaches more than a few prejudiced owners over the years. Calling the Eagles out on it is about as hypocritical as it gets. Hey, you interviewed a black guy for appearances because you were following our rule, which says you have to interview a black guy for appearances. Come on.