January 1, 2019 / 7:29 AM / 15 days ago

NFL: League under scrutiny for lack of minority coaches

(Reuters) - The National Football League is under the microscope for lack of minority head coaches after a recent slew of firings in the league.

FILE PHOTO: Dec 30, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis looks on before facing the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

Only two African American head coaches and one general manager remain after multiple coaches were axed on Monday following the end of the regular season.

Marvin Lewis left the top job at the Cincinnati Bengals, one of six head coaches ditched within 12 hours of the end of the regular season as teams acted swiftly in the wake of disappointing campaigns.

“Not a good look for diversity today in the NFL,” NFL Network’s Jim Trotter tweeted on Tuesday.

“In 2006, when Commissioner Goodell was hired, there were seven minority coaches and four minority general managers. Todaythere are three minority HCs and 1 minority GM after Ozzie (Newsome) retires.”

The NFL parted ways with five African American coaches this season — Hue Jackson (Cleveland), Lewis (Cincinnati), Todd Bowles (New York Jets), Steve Wilks (Arizona) and Vance Joseph (Denver).

Two African American coaches remain in Anthony Lynn — of the playoff-bound Los Angeles Chargers — and Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin who has a Super Bowl to his name.

Carolina Panthers Coach Ron Rivera, who is Latino, is the only other minority head coach. Baltimore Ravens general manager Newsome will step down at the end of the team’s playoff run this season.

Fox Sports Radio host Clay Travis was a dissenting voice amid the focus on minority hires.

“Why should diversity be an NFL goal? Black head coaches didn’t win and were fired. Just like white head coaches were,” Travis said on Twitter.

“NFL’s a meritocracy & coaching talent is rare. White and black coaches are being treated the exact same. As they should be.”

But the NFL has made a point to focus on minority and African American hires in a league where 70 percent of the players are African American.

The NFL enacted the Rooney Rule in 2003 which requires league teams to interview ethnic-minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs.

The results have been mixed and following an owners’ meeting the league recently announced that it was strengthening coaching and executive hire rules.

It remains to be seen whether those rules or recent rumblings will lead to new minority hires to fill the current vacancies.

Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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