Progress on head-coach diversity ‘unacceptable’, NFL commissioner Goodell tells teams

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Feb 5 (Reuters) – The NFL will reevaluate its policies relating to diversity, equity and inclusion, commissioner Roger Goodell told the clubs on Saturday, days after former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the league.

Flores, who is Black, was fired by the Dolphins last month after back-to-back seasons with winning records, saying it was emblematic of the treatment of Black coaches, who comprise a fraction of team staff positions while 70% of NFL players are Black. Goodell said he understood Flores’ concerns and added they would not wait for the legal process to “reassess and modify our strategies” so they are consistent with the league’s commitment to diversity.

“We have made significant efforts to promote diversity and adopted numerous policies and programs which have produced positive change in many areas,” Goodell wrote in a memo seen by Reuters and sent to all league employees and clubs.

“However we must acknowledge that particularly with respect to head coaches the results have been unacceptable. “We will reevaluate and examine all policies, guidelines and initiatives relating to diversity, equity and inclusion, including as they relate to gender.”

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There is currently just one Black head coach among the NFL’s 32 teams. Goodell added they were retaining “outside experts” to assist in their review while also asking current and former players and coaches for their input. “Our goal is simple: make our efforts and those of the clubs more effective so that real and tangible results will be achieved,” he added.

“We recognise the need to understand the lived experiences of diverse members of the NFL family to ensure that everyone has access to opportunity and is treated with respect and dignity.”

Flores had also said his refusal to throw games as a way to improve the football club’s chances of landing a top draft pick ultimately cost him his job. “We also take seriously any issue relating to the integrity of NFL games. These matters will be reviewed thoroughly and independently,” Goodell said.



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