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Anita Nahal

VIDEO: Diversity Among NFL Coaches and GMs

As a child, I would wonder, “What kind of game allows its players to pile up on one another? Is not the man at the bottom crushed?”  To me, American football seemed like a very rough game.  And so I rejected it and did not watch it.  My interest in the game began when I moved to Washington D.C. eight years ago and my son, who was an avid watcher, explained the game to me.  I grasped the art -- and the math -- that went into the planning for the defense and the offense in the game.  I realized that it was an intricate collaboration of various diverse elements -- players, coaches, trainers, medics, owners, advertisers -- and the watchers -- that made for the success or failure of the game.  I went to the FedEx Field twice (watching on T.V. is much more convenient!) to watch the game and cheered along with thousands for the Redskins.  Because of my website on diversity I began to look at diversity in various aspects of our lives – sports being one of them.  With the NFL season upon us and with our Redskins not doing so well, my interest piqued in the diversity within the NFL institution.  I still consider the game rough but I appreciate it nevertheless, especially the great adrenalin rush it gives particularly when the Redskins win!

On September 24, 2009, the NFL's Report Card on racial and gender report card was released.  The report is fascinating in detailing the racial and gender diversity among NFL players, coaches, administrators, physicians etc. The main question the Report Card asks is: “Are we playing fair when it comes to sports? Does everyone, regardless of race or gender, have a chance to score a touchdown and operate the business of professional football?”

According to the report, “The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports (TIDES) strives to emphasize the value of diversity to sports organizations when they choose their team on the field and in the office. Diversity initiatives such as diversity management training can help change attitudes and increase the applicant pool for open positions. It is clearly the choice of the organization regarding which applicant is the best fit for their ball club, but the Institute wants to illustrate how important it is to have a diverse organization involving individuals who happen to be of a different race or gender. This element of diversity can provide a different perspective, and possibly a competitive advantage for a win in the board room as well as on the field.” ( Reading this took my thoughts to what Frans Johansson (whom I interviewed on my website. Click here to read the interview),that the more diverse ideas (through diverse individuals) are brought together, the greater the possibility of new ideas emerging and, if managed well, the benefits will be accrued by the individuals and the institution involved.  We hope that sports, like other aspects of our lives, continue to encourage diversity. 

The highlights of the Report Card are:

• The NFL received its highest overall grades ever in the history of the NFL Racial and Gender Report

• During the 2008 NFL season, the percentage of white players remained constant at 31 percent while
the percentage of African‐American players increased slightly from 66 to 67 percent.

• In the League Office, 25 percent of the professionals were African‐American, Latino, Asian, Native
American and “other.” Over 27 percent of the professionals were women.

• No person of color has ever held majority ownership of an NFL team.

• There were 11 new head coaches for the 2009 NFL season, three of whom were African‐American:
Jim Caldwell in Indianapolis, Raheem Morris in Tampa Bay, and Mike Singletary in San Francisco.
Thus, 27 percent of the new head coaches hired were African‐American.

• Despite the hiring of three African‐American head coaches for the 2009 NFL season, there was no
overall change to the total number of head coaches who were African‐American. There were six
African‐American head coaches in 2008. Two were fired after the 2008 season and one retired.
Thus, there were still six African‐American head coaches at the start of the 2009 season.

• The NFL started the 2009 season with five African‐American general managers, just as it had started
the 2007 and 2008 seasons. One of the five, Jerry Reese, became the first African‐American general
manager to win a Super Bowl when the New York Giants won in 2008.

• Amy Trask of the Oakland Raiders remained the only female President/CEO of a team in the NFL, a
position she has held since 2005. There has never been a person of color serving as president or
CEO in the history of the NFL. 

Amy Trask

Amy Trask (center-left)"When we are on the road, I have a pre-game ritual, in which I walk throughout the stadium and say hello to the Raider fans that I see in the stands."-Amy Trask

• When Pittsburg won the 2009 Super Bowl, Mike Tomlin became the second African‐American head
coach to lead his team to a Super Bowl championship in three years.

• Five out of six of the last Super Bowl teams have had either an African‐American head coach or
general manager: Tony Dungy (Colts), Lovie Smith (Bears), Mike Tomlin (Steelers) and GMs Jerry
Reese (Giants), Rod Graves (Cardinals).

• The number of female vice presidents in the NFL increased by three to a total of 20. However, none
are women of color.

• People of color hold more than 18 percent of senior administrator positions on NFL teams.
Nineteen percent of the total senior administrator positions are held by women.

• The percentage of women in professional administrative positions dropped to 29 percent, marking
the first time it was recorded below 30 percent since 1999.

• There was an increase in the African‐American and Latino radio and television broadcasters by three
and six percentage points to 14 percent and 18 percent, respectively.


The National Football League achieved an A‐ grade on racial hiring practices. The NFL improved from
the previous report from a score for race of 87.1 to 89.2 points out of 100.

The NFL received a C on gender hiring practices in the 2009 NFL Racial and Gender Report Card, the first
grade issued for gender since the 2004 NFL RGRC when it received a D+.

This gave the NFL a combined B with 80.4 points out of 100.

In the history of the NFL Racial and Gender Report Card, the A‐ for race, C for gender and B for the
combined grade are the best grades ever received in each category for the NFL.

Read the full report at:

A great deal of the credit for achieving diversity in the NFL goes to the Rooney Rule. The Rooney Rule, established in 2003, requires National Football League teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operations opportunities. The rule is named for Dan Rooney,

Dan Rooney

the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the chairman of the league's diversity committee, and indirectly the Rooney family in general, due to the Steelers' long history of giving African Americans opportunities to serve in team leadership roles. It is often cited as an example of affirmative action.

The Rule was established to ensure that minority coaches were considered for high-level coaching positions. Until 1979, Fritz Pollard was the only minority head coach in NFL history (which was during the league's early years in the 1920s) and by the time the Rule was implemented, only Tom Flores, Art Shell, Dennis Green, Ray Rhodes, Tony Dungy, and Herman Edwards had ever held head coaching jobs (Only Dungy and Edwards were actively head coaching at the time of the Rule's implementation, though Shell and Green would later return to the sidelines as head coaches). Dungy in particular had struggled for years before getting a head coaching job; he was often promoted as a head coaching candidate by Chuck Noll when Dungy was an assistant under Noll in the 1980's with the Steelers, but he would not become a head coach until 1996 when he took over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Since the Rooney Rule was established, several NFL franchises have hired minority head coaches, including the Steelers themselves, who hired Mike Tomlin before their 2007 season (The Steelers, however, had already interviewed Ron Rivera to fulfill the Rule before interviewing Tomlin, and Rooney himself contends that Tomlin's hiring did not result from the Rule).  At the start of the 2006 season, the overall percentage of African American coaches had jumped to 22%, up from 6% prior to the Rooney Rule. Even so, the policy is still debated and no team has stated whether the Rooney Rule contributed to the hiring of a minority.

The rule does not apply if an assistant coach has language in his contract guaranteeing him the head coaching job in case of an opening. For example, this was the case when Mike Martz took over as head coach of the St. Louis Rams before the 2000 season. Also, the rule does not apply if the assistant coach taking over the head position is a minority, as was the case with Mike Singletary and the San Francisco 49ers in late 2008.

In 2003, the NFL fined the Detroit Lions $200,000 for failure to interview minority candidates for the team's vacant head coaching job. After Marty Mornhinweg was fired, the Lions immediately hired former San Francisco 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci to replace him without interviewing any other candidates. The Lions claimed they attempted to interview other candidates but that the minority candidates withdrew from interviews, believing Mariucci's hiring was inevitable.

Recently, legal scholars have advocated for extending the Rooney Rule to college football, where the number of minority head coaches hovers around 6%.

As of June 15, 2009, Rooney Rule requirements now apply to all searches for senior football operations positions within the NFL, regardless of a team's title for that position.

One can find numerous articles on the topic on the internet on diversity in the NFL.  A link to one is provided below.  Comments are invited and will be posted on the website.

NFLPA Best Among The Pro Players Reviewed




The Commonwealth Games, 2010 with 71 teams and over 6,000 participants displayed a plethora of countries, ethnicities, races, religions, gender, and other diversities. “Come out and play” was the official motto of the games in New Delhi. The planning for the games, and their successful execution, was also a testimony to the vibrancy and efficacy of the diverse Indian nation.   The below videos of the opening and closing ceremonies are symbolic of the cultural diversity of India.  Many other videos on the actual games can be found on Youtube.



Opening Ceremony Part I:

Opening Ceremony Part II:
Opening Ceremony Part III:
Opening Ceremony Part IV:
Opening Ceremony Part V:
Opening Ceremony Part VI:
Opening Ceremony Part VII:
Opening Ceremony Part VIII:
Opening Ceremony Part IX:
Opening Ceremony Part X:
Opening Ceremony Part XI:
Opening Ceremony Part XII:
Opening Ceremony Part XIII (Last):



The 2010 Commonwealth Games, officially known as the XIX Commonwealth Games, were held in Delhi, India, from 3 to 14 October 2010. A total of 6,081 athletes from 71 Commonwealth nations and dependencies competed in 21 sports and 272 events. It was the largest international multi-sport event to be staged in Delhi and India, eclipsing the Asian Games in 1951 and 1982. 

Read more at:

And at:


Commonwealth Games 2010 logo

Logo of 2010 Commonwealth Games

Host city

Delhi, India


Come out and play

Nations participating

71 Commonwealth Teams

Athletes participating



272 events in 21 disciplines[1]

Opening ceremony

3 October

Closing ceremony

14 October

Officially opened by

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Pratibha Patil, President of India

Athlete's Oath

Abhinav Bindra

Queen's Baton Final Runner

Sushil Kumar

Main Stadium

Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium



Commonwealth Games Federation Logo

Commonwealth Games Federation seal, adopted in 2001




London, United Kingdom

Commonwealth Secretariat

Hon. Michael Fennell OJ, CD


Commonwealth Games Federation



Special Olympics, Paralympic Games and Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Special Olympics is an international organization and competition held every two years, alternating between Summer and Winter Games, for people who have intellectual disabilities. There are also local, national and regional competitions in over 150 countries worldwide.  Currently more than three million athletes of all ages are involved in Special Olympics sports training and competition in over 170 countries. The organization offers year-round training and competition in 30 Olympic-type summer and winter sports.

Special Olympics Oath:

Let me win,    
but if I cannot win     
let me be brave           
in the attempt.

Read more about the Special Olympics at:

Paralympic Games:

The Paralympic Games are a major international multi-sport event where athletes with a physical disability compete. There are Winter and Summer Paralympic Games. All Paralympic Games are governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The Canadian city of Vancouver was host to the Paralympic Winter Games in 2010, whereas London will host the Paralympics in 2012 and Sochi will be the host of the 2014 Winter Paralympics.

Read more about the Paralympic Games at:

Eunice Kennedy Shriver:

It were the efforts of Eunice Kennedy Shriver (1921-2009), sister of President John F. Kennedy that led to the establishment of the Special Olympics in 1968. In 1962, Ms. Shriver had already instituted Camp Shriver for special needs children.

Read more about Eunice Kennedy Shriver:

In a speech at the Special Olympics games, Eunice Kennedy Shriver noted: “You are the starts and the world is watching you.  By your presence you send a message to every village, every city, every nation.  A message of hope.  A message of victory…The right to play on any playing field? You have earned it.   The right to study in any school?  You have earned it.  The right to hold a job?  You have earned it. The right to be anyone’s neighbor?  You have earned it.”

September 24, 2010 has been declared the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day.  



Please check back later


Some recent and forthcoming events:

* Paralympics Games Winter 2010, Vancouver, Canada

* Special Olympics Football Unity Cup—July 3rd, 2010 at Cape Town, South Africa

We were able to use this FIFA World Cup platform to promote unity, tolerance and an understanding of diversity. 

The Honorable President Mr. Jacob G Zuma of South Africa

“The first-ever Special Olympics Unity Cup presented by Coca-Cola marks the beginning of a great journey between Special Olympics and long-time global partner, Coca-Cola.  For the first-time ever, athletes were welcomed on an actual FIFA World Cup pitch prior to a World Cup match to play on the same field that soccer stars from Germany and Argentina would play on just hours later.  Celebrities, soccer legends and even the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, took to the field alongside 16 Special Olympics athlete teammates that hailed from all over the world…”

* Special Olympics—US National Games, Nebraska, July 18-23, 2010

More than 3000 athletes competed in the six day games in  Aquatics, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Flag Football, Golf, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Power lifting, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track & Field and Volleyball.

Read full details at:

* Summer Special Olympics 2011 will be held in Athens, Greece

Read full details at:


Please check back later.

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