President Joe Biden has become the latest critic of the NFL’s hiring practices.
In an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt, Biden said the NFL has not lived up to the standard it committed to in terms of hiring more minorities as head coaches. In his comments, Biden echoed sentiments expressed by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last week, who said the league “won’t tolerate discrimination.”
“The commissioner pointed out, they haven't lived up to what they committed to. They haven’t lived up to being open about hiring more minorities to run teams,” Biden said. “Goodell says they're gonna take a look at whether they can meet the standard. And the standard was set by someone who said this is something we should do.”
In a league where about 71 percent of its players are non-white, nearly all of the NFL’s head coaches are white. The lack of minority head coaches has long been a source of criticism for the NFL, and the criticism again came to the forefront when former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit against the league earlier this month alleging racial discrimination in its hiring practices.
Biden said having a more diverse collection of head coaches is a matter of “generic decency.”
“Think about it. The whole idea that a league that is made up of so many athletes of color, as well as so diverse, that there's not enough African American qualified coaches to quote, ‘to manage,’ these NFL teams, it just seems to me that it's a standard that they'd want to live up to,” Biden said. “It’s not a requirement of law, but it's a requirement I think of some generic decency.”
With the recent hiring of Lovie Smith by the Houston Texans, there are two Black head coaches in the NFL — Smith and Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mike McDaniel, the new hire of the Dolphins, is biracial. Ron Rivera of the Washington Commander is Latino.
The other 28 NFL head coaches are white.
In his lawsuit, Flores, who was fired by the Dolphins after having a 19-14 record over the last two seasons, alleged discrimination during head-coaching interview processes with both the New York Giants and Denver Broncos. He also alleged that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross tried to incentivize him to tank the 2019 season, offering him $100,000 per loss.