NFL scores higher for hiring diversity in studies

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Houston Texans head coach David Culley throws a challenge flag in the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets in Houston on Sunday, November 28, 2021. The Jets won 21 -14. (AP Photo / Eric Smith)

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The NFL scored higher for racial and gender hiring in an annual diversity report, though team-level scores continue to lag behind the league office.

Wednesday’s newsletter from the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) in central Florida gave the league an overall rating of B, with a B-plus for racial hiring and a C -more for gender hiring. The report looked at a range of positions at league headquarters and within franchises using data from the 2021 season.

The list included all-time highs for women in NFL office positions (38.8%) and people of color in assistant coaching positions (40.9%).

“Overall categories have increased by 2%,” said TIDES director and lead author of the report, Richard Lapchick, in an interview with The Associated Press. “It’s really hard to do with the bulletin, to move it so much. The kind of general improvements in so many categories was really encouraging. “

The overall score rose to 81.8, from 79.1 last year, to boost the letter rating by a B-minus. Numerical scores were up for both racial and gender hiring, although the gender score increased slightly from a C last year while the racial score remained a B-plus.

The study also noted that this year’s report cards changed their methodology to include team ownership, as a category, which reduced the gains posted in each category compared to what would have been reported in previous years. .

More visibly, the league opened the season with five colored head coaches for a C-plus rating: 15th-year Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin, third-year Miami coach Brian Flores, Washington coach sophomore Ron Rivera, New York Jets freshman coach Robert Saleh and Houston freshman coach David Culley.

The league also received a C-plus with five people of color working as general managers for a C-plus rank: Terry Fontenot of Atlanta, Andrew Berry of Cleveland, Brad Holmes of Detroit, Chris Grier of Miami and Martin Mayhew of Washington. . All except Grier have been hired since 2020.

At the league office, the NFL received an A-plus for racial hiring, with people of color filling 31.1% of positions and a B for gender hiring. These scores were generally higher than positions at the team level, such as women working as vice president and higher in the league office (filling 30.6% of these roles) compared to the team level ( 25.1%).

“This is true in all leagues for the most part,” Lapchick said. “This is how to get these (diversity) policies across to the club level. In some cases the club level has adopted it. I think they adopted it more this year.

In a statement, the NFL said it continued to “prioritize a diverse representation of staff on and off the field.”

“While we have made progress over the past year, and this is evident in this year’s report, we recognize that there is still work to be done,” the league said. “We are committed to providing an environment where everyone can compete and thrive and to ensure fair opportunities in the league for minorities and women, especially in leadership roles. “

Lapchick has previously praised the NFL for measures such as expanding the Rooney rule. He also credited the league with hosting a virtual GM forum in June named after Ozzie Newsome as the league’s first black GM in an effort to increase the hiring of minorities in the office. home to a league where 70.7% of the players are people of color.

“I think there’s definitely more emphasis, and I think that’s part of the direction the NFL was in anyway,” Lapchick said. “And I think the racial calculation after George Floyd’s murder made everyone scrutinize their own home to make sure they live up to what they say they do instead of setting a goal and it really doesn’t matter if they get there.

TIDES publishes annual newsletters on racial and gender-specific hiring practices in professional leagues such as NBA, WNBA, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer, as well as college sports in regards to diversity in employment rates. hiring and graduation.

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Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

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More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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