Rooney Rule Racism

If you spend any time at all watching ESPN’s Sports Center, you’ll know that Pete Carroll, the successful football coach at USC, has been under serious consideration for the head coaching job with the Seattle Seahawks for some weeks. Let’s put it this way: it will not be much of a surprise when it becomes final, which appears imminent.

Was there ever any serious thought given to someone not named Pete Carroll? Doubtful. And yet, and yet, patronizing racism rears its ugly head, even in what ought to be a pure meritocracy: the NFL. This is Rooney Rule Racism, although mainstream publications drop the third R. What is this RRR? From the Seattle Times:

An NFL franchise is required to interview at least one minority candidate before filling a head-coaching vacancy, according to the guidelines frequently referred to as the Rooney Rule.

Now, just in case you were wondering, “minority” is simply a kinder, gentler way of saying black, and, perhaps, Hispanic. But, mostly, black.

So, the Seahawks go through the required motions, and have interviewed some black token. Pity the poor soul who is the interviewee: only interviewed because he happened to have been born black. Everyone knows he isn’t in serious contention; everyone knows that Pete Carroll is the man.

My preference is obvious: interview the best candidates, regardless of race, negotiate in private, and hire the best man for the job. Period. Ignore race. To be required to interview someone because of the accident of his birth is racism, pure and simple. It is also the worst kind of condescension to black coaches, the notion that they are only worthy of being interviewed to meet a transparent attempt to mollify the racial preference crowd.

Back in the day, they were called segregationists, Kluxers, bigots. Today they are called the cowed and cowardly NFL establishment.


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