“We Need A Black Commissioner In The NFL” | Legendary Running Back Eric Dickerson Suggests How To Fix NFL Racial Inequity

Former LA Rams great Eric Dickerson says the NFL needs to hire a Black commissioner to heal its race problem. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

The NFL has been experiencing another reckoning across racial and cultural lines lately.

Now that Brian Flores has launched a lawsuit against the NFL and three of its teams, more voices from former NFL players are entering the collective conversation.

However, former Los Angeles Rams running back Eric Dickerson believes that the league needs to make a drastic move to balance the scales of equality in the NFL.

For Dickerson, the initial solution should be hiring a Black commissioner.

“We need a Black commissioner in the NFL and Black ownership for at least a few teams,” Dickerson said to OSDB. “A shift in power is the only thing that will change the way it is. You’re not going to make everyone happy, and I understand that. That’s not how life works, but we need to make real progress.”

Dickerson also expressed his belief that the league’s lack of Black head coaches and Black owners is an issue.

“A shift in power is the only thing that will change the way it is,” Dickerson said. “You’re not going to make everyone happy, and I understand that. That’s not how life works, but we need to make real progress.”

Dickerson pointed to the strides in the NBA as an indicator of how the NFL can evolve.

“The NFLPA can do a much better job of leveling the playing field and protecting its players, too,” said Dickerson. “There is just such a disconnect between the players, and the league itself, and the player’s association. It’s sad, and it could be different.”

Dickerson added that he’d like to see more from the NFL Players Association as well.

“Look at what’s going on in the NBA. I talked to my friend Clyde Drexler about this when we had dinner a couple of weeks ago. NBA players and owners have a more balanced situation than the NFL does. Clyde and I agreed that the current pension for retired NFL players is laughable.”

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke with reporters in front of SoFi Stadium before Super Bowl LVI.

“We want to see Black head coaches in the NFL,” Goodell said. “And coaches of people of color, and eventually gender. That we think is all important.”

Goodell said the NFL would look at the Rooney Rule and consider changing it if it leads to more diverse hirings in the coaching ranks. In addition, Goodell also said they’d look into adding and removing policies to ensure teams are being all-inclusive in their searches for coaches.

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“We’re going to talk to other people — have independent people come in and look and help us evaluate it — because it’s sometimes hard to evaluate your own policies and procedures,” Goodell continued.

“And make sure that we’re doing everything that we possibly can to create that opportunity for everybody to make sure that we are an inclusive league and make sure we get the outcomes that we want.”

Currently, the NFL has only two Black head coaches: Houston’s Lovie Smith and Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin. In addition, former 49ers coordinator Mike McDaniel, who apparently acknowledges he’s biracial, was also recently hired by the Miami Dolphins.

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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.