The NFL coaching carousel has stopped spinning and all of the vacant head coaching jobs and general manager positions in the league are now filled. However, there were no minorities hired to fill the vacancies and that has raised some questions and caused for many to call for a change in the Rooney Rule, which requires NFL teams to interview minority candidates for the open positions.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith spoke out on Friday and said he would love to hear from the NFL Coaches Association about their thoughts on the issue.
“I know the players of the National Football League expect a system that is fair,” Smith said in a statement. “The Rooney Rule was instituted with the idea of at least putting forth good quality coaches and mandating that those teams interview them. I know that as the days and months go by, especially heading into Super Bowl, we’re interested in hearing from the league what they intend to do to ensure that everyone is committed to hiring the best candidates and I am certainly interested in hearing from the Coaches Association on their thoughts. I would have expected something from them by now.”
Well, Smith has received his wish. NFL Coaches Association executive director David Cornwell has responded, but his statement was not focused on the minority issue. Instead, Cornwell’s statement took some shots at Smith and raised questions about the NFLPA executive director’s previous decisions.
“DeMaurice Smith is the best thing that has happened to NFL owners since they became NFL owners,” Cornwell said in a statement, via Pro Football Talk.
“De controlled both the NFLPA and the NFL Coaches Association from 2009 to 2012. During this period, De threw 3 generations of NFL players under the bus in exchange for a photo op with Roger Goodell and Robert Kraft; threw the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys under the bus to conceal from NFL players the truth about the declining salary cap; and, De threw NFL coaches under the bus when he: (1) sat silently as NFL teams unilaterally changed coaches’ retirement benefits; (2) filed an unauthorized legal brief under the NFLCA’s name during the NFL lockout; (3) kicked the NFLCA out of the NFLPA’s offices for challenging the filing of the brief, and he rolled the bus over NFL coaches when he snatched $308,000 in coaches’ dues money and sued the NFLCA because NFL coaches understandably want competent representation.
“I intend to address all of the issues that confront all NFL coaches and clean up the mess that De left behind. While I do, perhaps De will answer these questions: When you controlled the NFLCA, did you fight for uniform retirement and health benefits that will follow NFL coaches from team-to-team? Why does the salary cap continue to decline while League revenues and team values continue to increase? If you stand by the CBA that you negotiated, why do you shift money from other player benefits to the salary cap to create the illusion that the salary cap is flat or slightly rising?”
Cornwell’s statement raised more questions than it answered, but it will surely begin some discussion between the two sides. Smith and Cornwell need to figure out a way to address the minority issue the NFL currently has, but it looks like they have a lot more to talk about before they get to any adjustments to the Rooney Rule.