Why the NFL must make increasing diversity a bigger priority, both at its highest levels and among coaches and GMs
ATLANTA — Several years ago at the annual NFL Spring Meeting, while standing in the sprawling hallway of a swanky resort as high-ranking team and league officials began to pour out of a conference room for lunch, an associate asked me a question that resonates even more loudly today.
The individual, at the time a person of considerable heft in football circles, wondered aloud that if I sat in that hallway all day, how many people of color — excluding coaches — would be among those scampering in and out of meeting rooms in their smart business suits? It’s something that has run through my head in the years since, spending countless hours hanging around and waiting for such meetings to conclude, and it’s a dynamic hardly lost on those at the league office as well.
For two days in Atlanta this week, the NFL hosted a Quarterback Coaching Summit, trying to identify a pipeline of diverse coaches on the offensive side of the ball in the pro and college ranks who can hopefully rise to become head coaches themselves. Coaches and general managers spoke frankly and passionately about the problems they face during the symposium, trying to address the issue at the grassroots level. And they did so knowing that the power structure within the league — owners and team presidents and GMs — are almost entirely white, and there is a dearth of people of color in a position to hire in football. (read more)