This week, in a meeting of team owners, the NFL adopted a league policy that requires all 32 teams to set aside the coveted position of offensive assistant coach for a minority hire, which can be a female or a racial minority.
The new hire, whose salary will be paid by the NFL, must be in place for the 2022 season.
The league singled out that position for a reason: The offensive assistant coach is where many future head coaches are trained.
Minority head coaches are a rare sight in the NFL, where team owners are under pressure to find and hire more, so the NFL has now made an official policy to ensure a minority head coach, or even a woman who has never played, will lead more teams.
Art Rooney II, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, told reporters the NFL owners recognize the position is a "stepping stone" for a head coaching position.
"We clearly have a trend where coaches are coming from the offensive side of the ball in recent years, and we clearly do not have as many minorities in the offensive coordinator [job]," said Rooney, who chairs the NFL Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.
Jesse Lee Peterson, who leads Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, or BOND, predicts the NFL is making a terrible mistake. He is concerned not only about the issue of qualifications, he says, but the morale of teams under pressure to fill the slot.
“It’s not going to be the same anymore,” he says of the NFL’s future. “Because if you really, really think about it, everything they do gets worse. It doesn't get better because these people are not qualified."
NFL fans have already witnessed their beloved sport go “woke” over race in recent years: the NFL pledged last year to spend $250 million over 10 years for “social justice” causes and to “combat systemic racism.” That is why football fans witnessed the “black national anthem” being played during the 2021 season.
When the 2022 season kicks off, a league-record 15 minorities will be among the NFL’s defensive coordinators with two offensive coordinators, who are minorities, on the payroll.
Stacy Washington, a radio talk show host and Project 21 member, says the NFL team owners are making a huge mistake.
“It’s almost as the pressure has become so great to bow to the diversity mantra,” she tells AFN, “that they're willing to sacrifice the product itself, which is good football, on the altar of just having women coach teams or making sure there are more black coaches."