Newsome Blazes Trail Ahead of Rooney Rule

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Commissioner ROGER GOODELL informed NFL clubs today that the mandatory interview requirements currently in place for the head coach position have been extended to the senior football operations position at each club, the NFL announced today.

This policy specifically requires clubs to interview at least one minority candidate as part of the hiring process for a club's senior football operations position, whether described as general manager, executive vice president of football operations, or otherwise.

Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman DAN ROONEY, who is chairman of the league's Workplace Diversity Committee, recommended the extension of the rule on behalf of the committee. The recommendation received strong endorsement from clubs during discussion at the league's spring meeting in Fort Lauderdale in May.

"The discussion at the league meeting identified the strong reasons for taking this step, which in large part simply confirms a recommended practice that clubs have voluntarily embraced," Commissioner Goodell said. "The recommendation also recognizes that this process has worked well in the context of head coaches, and that clubs have deservedly received considerable positive recognition for their efforts in this respect."

There are currently five African-American senior club football operations executives. OZZIE NEWSOME (Baltimore) was the first minority general manager hired in NFL history in 2002, and was followed by ROD GRAVES (Arizona), MARTIN MAYHEW (Detroit),  JERRY REESE (New York Giants) and RICK SMITH (Houston). Newsome and Smith are members of the league's Competition Committee. The league's senior football executive, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations RAY ANDERSON, is African-American.

The requirement will not apply in cases where the position is held or filled by the owner or a member of his family, or where a club has a pre-existing contractual commitment filed with the league office to promote a current member of its staff if the senior football operations position becomes vacant.

Although it is not required, Commissioner Goodell strongly urged clubs in today's memo to interview a broad and diverse slate of candidates for a wide range of football operations roles, including scouting, player personnel, and contract and cap management positions. "The more thorough the search, the more likely clubs are to find the right candidates, and to be able to groom future leaders from within their organizations," the commissioner said.

The members of the NFL Workplace Diversity Committee are Dan Rooney (Pittsburgh), KATIE BLACKBURN (Cincinnati), ARTHUR BLANK (Atlanta), JAVIER LOYA (Houston), and JOHN MARA (New York Giants).

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