In a meeting with league owners Tuesday, the NFL approved rules requiring more minority candidates for coaching and general manager (GM) jobs to be interviewed. A virtual affirmative action proposal to elevate the draft positions of teams hiring minority coaches and GMs was tabled due to a lack of owner support, prompting a race-filled diatribe from Deadspin writer Carron J. Phillips.
In his story headlined "NFL's 'Broken System' Is So Racist Owners Can't Even Be Bribed To Hire Black People", Phillips lets loose with a torrent of anger over the failed attempt to introduce affirmative action into NFL hiring:
"Owners in the National Football League aren’t too fond of black people having power.
"And on Tuesday afternoon, league owners confirmed that they can’t even be bribed to give black people opportunities."
Judy Battista, also of NFL.com, tweeted: “This is generally what they do if they don’t think there is enough support for a proposal — go back to the drawing board to improve it rather than let it fail."
"Reaction to the draft-related proposal was mostly negative," said Zach Link, on Pro Football Rumors. Two high profile African-Americans -- Anthony Lynn, head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, and Tony Dungy, a former NFL head coach -- also registered disapproval of the affirmative action proposal.
Former NFL player Ross Tucker, now a broadcaster on 670 AM Radio in Chicago, also disagreed with the draft perks proposal:
Phillips appears to be an outlier in the media on the incentives controversy. He translated the tabling of the proposal to mean, "The league’s bribe wasn’t good enough." He also criticized the NFL for making its "biggest flaw (racism) a constant headline" during the pandemic.:
"The league’s disgusting history when it comes to hiring, and maintaining, black coaches and minorities in front-office positions has always been a black eye. Which is why it made no sense to bring this issue up during a pandemic when no sports are being played. The league willingly made its biggest flaw a constant headline during a time in which people have nothing else to talk about in the sports world."
"However, we’ve seen the league do this before."
Phillips was referring to the NFL's short-lived ban on anthem kneeling, announced in May 2018. Although the plan was dropped a few weeks later, "the damage was already done," he writes. "In a time in which kneeling during the national anthem was all but extinct, the owners brought it right back to the forefront, angering players all over again.":
"The commissioner of the NFL literally held a press conference about how teams would be fined if players chose to take a knee or raise a first in peaceful protest against police brutality, hours before the video of a black NBA player (Sterling Brown) being the victim of police brutality was released.
"The NFL’s message was made clear that day. They don’t give a damn about black people."
That's why Phillips supports these acts as the only thing that can bring about progress in NFL race relations. He's seen them used outside of sports before, including in segregated Chicago, where, he says, "incentives have always been a way to prevent “white flight” from the city to the suburbs.
Phillips eventually lightens up and regards the NFL's new interviewing rules as "positive news."