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Stop dismissing minority coaching candidates as “Rooney Rule” guys

It’s unfair. If you dismiss minority coaching candidates simply due to the Rooney Rule, I’m asking you to stop.

Buffalo Bills v New York Jets Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The coaching carousel is in full swing for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Names are being thrown around as potential candidates for the six NFL head coaching openings. It’s getting fairly crazy.

All six NFL teams vacant of a head coach appear to have their lists of candidates set, and have already made contact or scheduled interviews with the guys they’re interested in. All is normal, as this occurs every year in the NFL.

But I’ve come across something troubling — bothersome, this time around. Granted, I’m still a young guy and have really gotten into in-depth NFL drama and scouting until this past year, so I’ve never had much of a chance to dive into this aspect of the game, but it bothers me nonetheless.

I’ve seen a lot of excusing of minority head coaching candidates as a result of the “Rooney Rule” even to the point of where I’ve gotten a little sick to my stomach.

The “Rooney Rule”, named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner and chairman of the NFL’s diversity committee, was created to create fair and equal opportunities for minorities in the NFL to receive high-profile jobs — head coach, general manager, and so on.

I fully back this rule. It makes sense... although I believe it’s unfortunate that this world we live in has led us to creating rules for fair and equal opportunity for employment of minorities. We should be better than this. However, considering the world we live in — knowing that racism is alive and well — the rule is necessary.

But I believe we’ve gotten to the point where some football fans take the rule and use it as an excuse, per say. In recent days, when reports break on the Jaguars scheduling interviews with head coaching candidates of color — there have been two so far — I’ve been tweeted at, told, and seen this phrase way too often: “It’s just the Rooney Rule” as if the candidate isn’t legitimate.

This needs to stop. This needs to stop now.

Listen, I don’t enjoy mixing social issues with football, but when the issue needs to be addressed, I’ll do it, and I’ll speak my mind until I’m blue in the face. I did it when Colin Kaepernick sat for the National Anthem, I did it in being very anti-Greg Hardy, and I’ll do it right now.

If there are three passions I have in my life, they are as follows: Football, music, and equality. I’m a firm believer that I am no better and no worse than my minority counterpart. We are all created equal. That’s just how I live my life.

So, when I see the dismissal of a minority head coaching candidate without logical reasoning — in Jacksonville’s case, two black men — I get sick to my stomach. I’ve seen more “He’s only being interviewed because of the Rooney Rule” dismissals of each Harold Goodwin and Anthony Lynn as head coaching candidates than I’ve seen legitimate reasoning as to why they don’t fit as a head coach for this team, or any team for that matter. It’s unfair to say that about these guys. It’s cruel.

I’ve been directly tweeted at about Anthony Lynn being a “Rooney Rule” candidate several times, and it makes zero sense. The Jaguars already interviewed one minority candidate in Harold Goodwin, therefore, the excuse doesn’t fly for Lynn, and it wouldn’t count for Goodwin if the situation were vice versa.

Harold Goodwin, Anthony Lynn, and countless minorities who are in the hunt for big-time NFL jobs each and every year have worked their entire lives to get to where they are right now. If you don’t think they should be the next head coach of your favorite team, that’s fine!

What’s not fine is to dismiss them because they’re black.

If a minority candidate isn’t your candidate of choice, give me football or morality reasoning — don’t make it about skin color. These guys deserve the same respect as people that you give your favorite coaching candidate, because we’re all exactly that — people. No different than you or me.

So please, if ever you were to do me one favor, please don’t resolve to dismissing a minority candidate for your team just based on the “Rooney Rule”. Use football reasoning to discredit these candidates if you so please. Use moral reasoning, if applicable, to discredit these candidates if you so please. It’s unfair — and downright insulting — to dismiss coaching legitimacy based on race.