More interviews didn’t equal more minority hirings in NFL

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FILE - This is an Aug. 17, 2020, file photo showing David Culley of the Baltimore Ravens NFL football team. David Culley has been hired as the coach of the Houston Texans, a person familiar with the hiring told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Wednesday night, Jan. 27, 2021, because the hiring hasnt been announced. (AP Photo)

The NFL expanded the Rooney Rule to give more minority candidates opportunities to become a head coach and reward teams who develop them.

More interviews didn’t equal more hirings this offseason.

According to an analysis of candidates known to have interviewed for seven head coach openings this month, 11 were minorities and 16 were white. Only two of the seven jobs went to minorities.

Some consider it progress but most agree there’s a long way to go.

“There’s still work to be done in this area, no question about it,” Pittsburgh Steelers team president Art Rooney II said Thursday.

The Houston Texans hired David Culley this week, making the 65-year-old longtime assistant the league’s third Black head coach hired. The New York Jets previously hired Robert Saleh, the son of Lebanese immigrants and the first NFL head coach who is known to be Muslim.

Culley and Saleh join Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, Miami’s Brian Flores and Washington’s Ron Rivera as the league’s only minority head coaches. In a sport where about 70% of the players are minorities, the lack of diversity among the head coaching ranks sticks out.

Rooney said the league will take another look at the rule named after his father, Dan Rooney, who was chairman of the NFL’s diversity committee.