Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II has pushed back against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's recent comments about the lack of minority hirings over the past two seasons.
Per The Athletic's Tim Graham on Thursday, the 66-year-old wants to see the Rooney Rule's success or failure judged by the actual results:
"We have to judge our progress on the results. It's like looking at your team. You are what your record says you are. I’m not going to sit here and accuse anyone of racism, but the facts are what they are. We have to look at the opportunities that were given to minorities this latest round and see what can be done about it.”
During his State of the League address on Jan. 30, Goodell took a long-view approach to the state of minority coaching hires.
"We don't look at the success or failure of the Rooney Rule in one-year increments," Goodell told reporters.
The NFL has come under scrutiny since five of the eight head coaches who were fired or parted ways with teams during or after the 2018 season were African American— Hue Jackson (Cleveland Browns), Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati Bengals), Todd Bowles (New York Jets), Steve Wilks (Arizona Cardinals) and Vance Joseph (Denver Broncos).
Only the Miami Dolphins hired an African American head coach this offseason, replacing Adam Gase with New England Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores.
Per Mark Maske of the Washington Post, Fritz Pollard Alliance counsel Cyrus Mehri noted part of the problem stems from a lack of minority assistant coaches.
"We are heartened by the strengthening of the Rooney Rule as we move forward," Mehri said in December. "But there are some challenges in the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach positions. There are simply too few minority coaches in those positions. That's something we need to focus on."
There are currently four minority head coaches in the NFL: Flores, Mike Tomlin of the Steelers, Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers and Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers.
The Rooney Rule was adopted in 2003 and requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coach job openings and various senior football positions.