By N. Jeremi Duru
Following the NFL's desegregation in 1946, possibilities grew to become more and more considerable for African American players--but now not African American coaches. even though significant League Baseball and the NBA made development during this regard through the years, the NFL's head coaches have been virtually completely white up until eventually the mid-1990s. Advancing the Ball chronicles the crusade of former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman John Wooten to correct this incorrect and undo many years of discriminatory head trainer hiring practices--an initiative that eventually bore fruit whilst he joined forces with lawyers Cyrus Mehri and Johnnie Cochran. including a number of allies, the triumvirate galvanized the NFL's African American assistant coaches to face jointly for equivalent chance and confident the league to enact the "Rooney Rule," which stipulates that each workforce needs to interview a minimum of one minority candidate while trying to find a brand new head trainer. In doing so, they spurred a stream that might considerably impression the NFL and, in all probability, the country. that includes an impassioned foreword through trainer Tony Dungy, Advancing the Ball bargains an eye-opening, first-hand examine how a number of dedicated contributors initiated a sea switch in America's most well-liked activity and additional a unprecedented new bankruptcy to the civil rights tale.
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Extra info for Advancing the Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for Equal Coaching Opportunity in the NFL
He’d built an entire legal practice on trying to defeat it. Mehri acknowledged that the overt racial discrimination of King’s day had largely receded, but he believed it had given way to a more subtle, often covert, sometimes subconscious form of discrimination that infected America more deeply than most people knew or were willing to admit. Mehri targeted this “second-generation” discrimination in the workplace, where he believed it ran rampant, through representing employees in racial discrimination suits against their employers.
For years commentators had lamented the lack of diversity among NFL head coaches and called for change. And to the 18 Advancing the Ball NFL’s credit, it had attempted to improve on that front through various programs over the years. Still, the League’s teams rarely hired African American head coaches, and it seemed to Mehri that the inequitable treatment prevailed not only at the hiring stage but, for those few who attained head coaching positions, also at the ﬁring stage. First, there was Shell’s experience.
Dungy, in contrast, coached the Buccaneers for ﬁve straight nonlosing seasons, established a tradition of excellence, and was ﬁred. The double standard Dungy faced could not have been more glaring. The Buccaneers ﬁred Dungy’s predecessors, all white, for losing. They ﬁred Dungy even though he won. Although Dungy had not captured the League’s ultimate prize, a Super Bowl championship, surely he merited more time at the helm. After reading of Green’s dismissal, Mehri had stewed for a few hours, then put the matter behind him and returned to his work.