by Brendon Berger
A few days ago, one of the NFL’s most cherished chestnuts came under mild criticism. That chestnut in question is the much celebrated “Rooney Rule” governing head coach and key front office personnel. The rule states simply that the NFL’s teams must interview at least one minority candidate while searching for a new head coach or general manager (and other analogous personnel positions). This rule is, in short, stupid…but more on that later.
While speaking to reporters last Thursday, Buffalo Bills Offensive Coordinator Anthony Lynn shared his views on the Rooney Rule:
I think it’s good to get in front of the decision-makers and let them hear what you have to say, but at the same time, I think some people take advantage of it. I’m not for it. Hire the best man for the job. That’s all I want…I think sometimes people do that to check the box. I don’t agree with it.
Lynn went on to do some post opinion statement hedging about the rule, as coaches do when talking to the media. But let’s be clear, the opinion below is mine, not his.
Whether Coach Lynn wants to wade fully into this issue or not, an issue it remains. Rules like the Rooney Rule do not “help” minorities. But what about Ron Rivera, Marvin Lewis, Hue Jackson, Jim Caldwell, Mike Tomlin, and Todd Bowles, all of whom have become head coaches since the Rooney Rule’s inception? First off, Hue Jackson is head coach of the 0-14 Cleveland Browns, so even if he was hired as a result of the rule, I wouldn’t be so sure you did him a favor. Second, and more importantly, isn’t the assumption that these extremely football savvy men wouldn’t have their jobs if not for the rule at least a little offensive? Call me crazy, but I feel like their talent and track records were more important.
But this is one of the many nasty undercurrents running through the progressive mindset. And it’s possible that many of them aren’t even aware of its existence. Most of what progressives brand as their desire to “help” is basically noblesse oblige. Our progressive friends are the lords and ladies of the land issuing their proclamations from on high. And when they do deign to ride through the hovels and toss their glittering coins down into the mud, it’s the part of the “protected classes” to honor and adore.
Underlying the assumption that minorities need protection is the further assumption that we can’t protect ourselves. We’d probably all just lay down and die if the mostly white, progressive aristocracy weren’t there to help us. How exactly is this different from the slave owner telling themselves they are doing the black race a favor? Feed them, clothe them, put them to work…civilize the heathen. Though in fairness, American progressives have been trying to trap protected classes into dependency for decades, so maybe it’s not different?
Let me second Coach Lynn’s revolutionary proposal. Let’s hire the person who best fits the needs of the position being filled regardless of their genetic background. There are 32 head coaching jobs in the NFL. If the best available 32 people for those gigs struggle with dancing, tie sweaters around their necks, and love croquet then so be it (stereotypes are fun!). Maybe I’m just a starry-eyed optimist but I believe men like Anthony Lynn, Ron Rivera, or Mike Tomlin will do just fine without a condescending pat on the head. In the case of the last guy on that list, I’m sure he’d let you keep your gold star; he’ll take the Lombardi Trophy he gained after winning the Super Bowl in 2009.