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NFL expands Rooney Rule to boost diversity

(Reuters) - NFL teams must interview at least two minority candidates when looking to fill a head coaching position under a resolution passed on Tuesday by team owners that is designed to increase diversity, the league said.

FILE PHOTO: The NFL logo is pictured at an event in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Under the expanded Rooney Rule, clubs will also be required to interview at least one minority candidate for coordinator positions and at least one external minority candidate for the senior football operations or general manager position.

Clubs must also include minorities or female applicants in the interview processes for a variety of senior level front office positions including club president as well as senior executives in communications, finance, human resources and legal.

The NFL said the league will also adhere to the requirements.

“The NFL is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, which I believe is critical to our continued success,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.

“While we have seen positive strides in our coaching ranks over the years aided by the Rooney Rule, we recognize, after the last two seasons, that we can and must do more,” he said.

“The policy changes made today are bold and demonstrate the commitment of our ownership to increase diversity in leadership positions throughout the league.”

The Rooney Rule, named after former NFL diversity committee chairman Dan Rooney, was originally introduced in the NFL in 2003 and obliged clubs to interview at least one minority candidate for every senior head coach role.

Of the five head-coaching vacancies this offseason, just one went to a minority candidate and only three of the past 20 head-coaching openings were filled by a person of color, according to NFL.com.

The owners on Tuesday failed to pass a resolution that would have rewarded teams that hired minorities with improved positions in the NFL Draft.

Critics had said the proposal could have led to tensions between coaches across the league and could give off the perception that someone was hired to improve the team’s draft prospects and not because he or she was the best candidate for the job.

Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Toby Davis

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