When the Raiders seemingly agreed to hire Jon Gruden without interviewing any other candidates, black or otherwise, many wondered if the team would face sanctions for violating the Rooney Rule. The NFL investigated the matter and concluded on Friday that the team did comply with the rule, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
The ruling is sure to draw eye rolls from many around the game. In Gruden’s introductory press conference, owner Mark Davis insinuated that he had reached agreement with the coach on Christmas Eve. Two minority candidates – Oakland tight ends coach Bobby Johnson and USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin – were technically interviewed before Gruden signed a contract, but it seems that the job was already taken by the time they met with team brass in the New Year.
“I felt pretty confident that he was all-in,” Davis said of the Dec. 24 discussion. “And that’s the term that we were using in our discussions and everything, are you all-in? And I never wavered from all-in. And this time he didn’t waver, either.”
First implemented in 2003, the Rooney Rule stipulates that at least one minority candidate must be interviewed for all head coach or senior football operations positions in the NFL. It’s possible that there will be changes to the rule in response to the Raiders’ conduct.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.