All was looking fine and dandy with the Oakland Raiders following their move to hire Jon Gruden as their new head coach. However, they’ve raised a few eyebrows with how they’ve handled the job interview process.
The rule stipulates that organizations must meet with at least one minority candidate when filling a head coaching or senior football operation position. It was named after former Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, who was the longtime head of the league’s diversity committee.
The Fritz Pollard Alliance is named for the first African American head coach in the NFL; he had two stints with the Akron and Hammerhead Pros in 1921 and 1925 respectively. Their focus is to advocate for diversity and equal job opportunity within the NFL’s coaching, front office, and scouting departments.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie stated during Gruden’s introductory press conference that the Raiders had interviewed their tight ends coach Bobby Johnson and USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin to fulfill their obligations toward the rule. However, the FPA is concerned about the seriousness of those meetings and whether or not the Raiders were legitimately considering Johnson and Martin.
Not helping matters is the fact that owner Mark Davis repeatedly made mention of how long he’s sought Gruden for the head coaching position (six years), coupled with the fact that rumors immediately swirled about Gruden returning to Oakland after the team fired Jack Del Rio after their final game of 2017.
Johnson will be leaving his tight ends coach position, with Frank Smith of the Chicago Bears replacing him. Reports from today also stated that the Raiders are interested in Martin joining the team as their wide receivers coach.
Combine all of those details, and it’s pretty clear why the FPA is a little puzzled.
In any case, the most the league can do to punish the Raiders is fine them $250,000, which is the penalty for not complying with the Rooney Rule. Draft picks could be taken away as well, but considering that the Raiders were “all-in” on Gruden from the start, it’s most likely not a big deal to them.