“We strongly disagree with the NFL’s conclusion that the Raiders did not violate the Rooney Rule,” the Fritz Pollard Alliance said in a statement (via PFT). “We believe the facts overwhelmingly point in the other direction. In his enthusiasm to hire Jon Gruden, Raiders’ owner Mark Davis failed to fulfill his obligation under the Rule and should step forward and acknowledge he violated the Rule.”
The league feels that the Raiders complied with the Rooney rule by interviewing a pair of minority candidates before officially hiring Gruden. But, it appears that Gruden verbally accepted the job and agreed to terms with the club well before Raiders tight ends coach Bobby Johnson and USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin met with GM Reggie McKenzie. The Fritz Pollard Alliance says it will push to change the Rooney Rule to ensure that a black candidate is genuinely considered for every head coaching vacancy.
“The NFL broke ground when it created the Rooney Rule, but it made the wrong call in refusing to penalize Mark Davis in this instance,” the statement said. “Davis crossed the line, and we are disappointed in the League’s decision. The Rooney Rule and all of the League’s equal opportunity efforts need to be strengthened. We have called for meetings with the League to ensure that a process like this never happens again.”
The Fritz Pollard Alliance is led by John Wooten and U.S. civil rights attorney Cyrus Mehri. Mehri, a tenacious lawyer who ran an aggressive campaign to take over the NFLPA last year, figures to fight hard for an update to Rooney Rule protocol.
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