Over 67% of the National Football League players are black. However, black football players had difficulty finding employment within the league during the early years when they retired. The NFL hired only one black head coach Fritz Pollard from the beginning of the company during the early 20s until 1979. Many black offensive and defensive coordinators did not get job interviews for head coaching positions like their white colleagues. The NFL instituted the Rooney Rule in the 1970s. It mandated that NFL owners interview one black prospect before hiring a head coach. Several black coaches got interviews and became head coaches. The NFL probably would not have hired Tom Flores, Tony Dungy, or Mike Tomlin, several great coaches who won Super Bowl championships. The Herman Edwards, Dennis Greens, and the Art Shells of the world would have never been head coaches without the Rooney Rule. Former black coaches have expanded their opportunities and skills by becoming great sports analysts. ESPN hires the best of the best. The color commentary and the shared experiences of these former coaches and players have enriched the quality of the sports broadcasting on ESPN and other sports networks such as NBC, CBS, and FOX. Diversity tends to increase viewer interest. Viewers want to see people who share their cultural or racial background in a position of influence. Young people of all cultural backgrounds are looking for positive role models; the sports media has served as a medium where those with diverse backgrounds have equal time to express their views. Many youths receive a self-esteem boost when they see sports writers and analysts who look like them. Some say the Rooney Rule and other affirmative action programs have served their purpose in the NFL, but since none of the eight newly hired during the 2012 hiring season was black, it suggests that the Rooney Rule is needed now more than ever.
(Source: The ‘Rooney Rule’ Pro Football’s Affirmative Action Deception ¬†¬†National Legal and Policy Center.html)