Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp Says NFL Owners Ignore Rooney Rule, Run League As “Slave System”

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers stalwart defensive lineman and Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp has been giving his opinion on a variety of topics as of late.

He’s talked about Odell Beckham Jr., Colin Kaepernick and a host of other things.

Sapp recently spoke critically of the lack of African-American representation as it pertains to head coaches in the NFL. Currently just three of 32 NFL franchises have a Black “leader of men.”

The low numbers, he says, indicates that owners will still do as they please, despite the Rooney Rule, and he doesn’t see that changing anytime soon.

During an appearance on the “Vlad TV” show, the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year shared his thoughts on the current state of NFL hiring.

“It’s so bad of a slave system that one of the premier owners of the league had to stick his name on a rule and it still has got no teeth to this day: the Rooney Rule.”

Sapp wasn’t done ….

“32 oligarchs running this thing as they see fit, if you don’t like it, go get another job. We always said it was a dirty game, it’s going to come back and bite you at some point.”

What Is The Rooney Rule?

The  Rooney Rule by definition is a “National Football League policy that requires league teams to interview ethnic-minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs.”

The rule was reportedly designed to improve diversity in the leadership roles around the league. Each team must interview a minority candidate for their positions of head coach, general managers and executive positions.

Since the league’s adoption of the rule in 2003, the Rooney rule hasn’t helped increase the number of minority head coaches. The number continues to fluctuate, never surpassing a high of eight.

For best example of the rule working the way it was designed to look no further than the team and owners the rule was named after. In 2007, the Rooney Family needed to replace Bill Cowher, this was hard for a franchise that had only known two coaches — Cowher and Chuck Noll — from 1969-2007.

With the Steelers reportedly ready to hire the team’s offensive line coach Russ Grimm to replace Cowher, a young, bright, enthusiastic defensive coordinator from the Minnesota Vikings swooped in and impressed the Rooney family so much that they hired him. That is none other than Mike Tomlin, who’s been the Steelers head coach for 15 seasons and hasn’t once suffered a losing season. The longest streak in NFL history.

NFL Could Take A Lesson From The NBA

For the first time in NBA history, 15 of the league’s franchises employ Black head coaches. NBA commissioner Adam Silver says he’s hopeful for the day when hiring a Black person to a lead role is the norm.

“At the same time, while I’m particularly proud of those numbers and roughly 50 percent of our head coaches are Black now, the goal is that that’s not newsworthy, and that when people are hired, their first reaction isn’t the color of their skin,” Silver said in an interview with Andscape. “I don’t want to be naive either, though, because I know that what we do in this league is important symbolically, not just for sports but for other industries, and people watch us all around the world.”

The NFL has a long way to go, and with the way it’s looked for years the expectancy is they won’t get to that point anytime soon.

Sapp just said what most Black football fans have been thinking and experiencing.

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