The NFL has been at a stand-still over players’ decisions to protest against racial inequality during the national anthem. This controversial matter has been the topic of discussion for over two years without any sign of progress.
San Francisco 49ers then-backup QB Colin Kaepernick hasn’t been reinstated, a select group of fans still think the protests are against the military and Donald Trump hasn’t let up on his masterful Twitter finger attacks against NFL players. Little has been done, discussions haven’t advanced and few results have been seen.
Although players are currently being ostracized, former NFL head coach Tony Dungy believes the league has made some advancements, specifically within coaching positions. But there are some ways to go.
“We’ve made strides and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing coaches go to the top,” Dungy said, “Watching Jim Caldwell, Lovie Smith, and Mike Tomlin take teams to the Super Bowl, it’s been awesome to see. So we’ve made some progress, but we are still not there. There are things that we can do in terms of equality, and I think we are making good strides moving forward.”
Since the NFL instituted the Rooney Rule back in 2003, teams have been required to interview minority candidates for head coaching positions. This decision ultimately helped to increase the number of black head coaches, however, the growth eventually peaked at eight total black coaches.
The NFL and NFLPA will eventually have to come to a decision over a middle-ground for NFL players’ protests and diversification of the league in all sectors.
But, as both a head coach and person who’s been pivotal in the NFL changes, Tony Dungy and his wife Lauren have utilized their influence to change sports narratives for children through their books. Through topics covering family values and failure to live readings at the NFL Experience, the couple hopes to diversify representation and show kids that there’s more to life than just sports in children’s books.
“We wanted kids to be able to see themselves. When they open the book, we wanted them to say “Oh ok this is something that I experience, that boy looks like me or that little girl looks like me. So, they can make that connection and they can do it best when they see people that represent them. So, diversity was important when we did the stories,” Lauren Dungy said.
A lesson that the NFL should take note of moving forward.