‘We’re Pleased To See Progress, But It’s Never Enough’ | NFL Increases Diversity In Executives, Still Lacks It On The Sidelines

The NFL has announced a historic milestone in their history with the most minorities ever in executive positions across the league. Brian Flores challenged the NFL hierarchy when he sued the league and three teams last year for discrimination. He claimed in his lawsuit that the NFL is “rife with racism” in pointing out the league’s lack of progress in promoting Black coaches.

All 32 NFL head coaches posing for their annual picture at the NFL Season Opener League Meetings. (Photo: Screenshot from Barstool sports Twitter account)

The NFL recently held their annual league meeting to jump-start the new year, and diversity was one of the main points discussed among league executives and coaches.

According to reports, each team is now required to have a person in charge of diversity, equity, and inclusion. There are currently 15 teams that now have a DEI head and two other teams have someone momentarily leading the department.

The league also now has seven minority team presidents, including five who are Black and three women. There are also nine minority general managers, which includes eight Black men.

“They actually have to have specific roles and deliverables that are in their job description so that is a big thing,” NFL executive Jonathan Beane said in an interview with The Associated Press. “The reason why that’s so important is we have to have a single point of accountability at the clubs where they are focused on driving it throughout their organization, in football operations and coaching, in business operations, engaging with ownership to make sure that this is a priority throughout the whole ecosystem of a club.”

Beane is the senior vice president, chief diversity and inclusion officer for the NFL. He has been in that position since 2020 and he makes sure all 32 organizations implement a plan to create more diversity for minorities.

There are still only three Black head coaches in a sport that had 56.4 percent of its players being Black in 2022, according to reports. Mike Tomlin, Todd Bowles, and Demeco Ryans are those Black head coaches.

“While increased diversity in executive roles could lead to increased diversity on the sidelines, progress on this front has remained stagnant for years,” said Devan Rawlings, the author of Revelio Labs’ NFL report. “The NFL has a significant disparity between the diversity of its players and that of its coaching staff — the largest among men’s major leagues — and this has not changed despite a large pool of diverse former players that could meet a demand for coaching talent.”

Chris Grier was the only Black general manager across the whole NFL four years ago. Ozzie Newsome was the general manager for the Ravens from 2002 to 2018 and was the longest-tenured Black general manager in league history. He was also the first one in league history.

The league has taken steps to improve its diversity, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell knows there is still a lot more work to be done.

“We still feel like there’s better work and more work ahead of us,” Goodell said last month in a interview. “There’s progress, and we’re pleased to see progress, but it’s never enough. We always look to sort of say, ‘How can we do better?'”

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