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Archive for May 20th, 2020

NFL announces changes to enhance Diversity aka “The Rooney Rule”

​League Increases Opportunities for Career Development and Advancement Through Enhanced Mobility Changes and Rooney Rule Expansion

NEW YORK (May 19, 2020) – NFL clubs today adopted new procedures in diversity, equity and inclusion. In approving a resolution and other rules changes, league officials will implement wide-sweeping workplace reforms to increase employment opportunities and advancement for minorities and women across the league.

“We believe these new policies demonstrate the NFL Owners’ commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the NFL,” said Pittsburgh Steelers owner and chairman of the Workplace Diversity Committee, Art Rooney II.  “The development of young coaches and young executives is a key to our future. These steps will assure coaching and football personnel are afforded a fair and equitable opportunity to advance throughout our football operations. We also have taken important steps to ensure that our front offices, which represent our clubs in so many different ways, come to reflect the true diversity of our fans and our country.”

The resolution changes the current Anti-Tampering Policy by establishing a system that prohibits a club from denying  1) an assistant coach the opportunity to interview with a new team for a bona fide Offensive Coordinator, Defensive Coordinator, or Special Teams Coordinator position; (2) a non-high-level/non-secondary football executive from interviewing for a bona fide Assistant General Manager position. In either case, a contract could not be negotiated or signed until after the conclusion of the employer club’s playing season; and 3) requires all clubs submit in writing an organizational reporting structure for the coaching staff with job descriptions for any coach who is a coordinator or co-coordinator within that structure. The resolution also requires that any dispute regarding whether the new team is offering a “bona fide” position will be submitted promptly to the Commissioner, whose determination shall be final, binding and not subject to further review.

The resolution was put forth by the Workplace Diversity Committee, chaired by Rooney and the Competition Committee, chaired by Rich McKay (Atlanta Falcons). The league also announced expansion of Rooney Rule requirements and implementation of enhanced diversity policies.

The enhancements to the Rooney Rule include changes both on and off-the-field. Clubs will now be required to interview at least two external minority candidates for head coach vacancies; at least one minority candidate for any of the three coordinator vacancies; and at least one external minority candidate for the senior football operations or general manager position.

For the first time the Rooney Rule will also apply to a wide range of executive positions. Clubs must now include minorities and/or female applicants in the interview processes for senior level front office positions such as club president and senior executives in communications, finance, human resources, legal, football operations, sales, marketing, sponsorship, information technology, and security positions. The league office will also adhere to these requirements.

“The NFL is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, which I believe is critical to our continued success,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “While we have seen positive strides in our coaching ranks over the years aided by the Rooney Rule, we recognize, after the last two seasons, that we can and must do more. The policy changes made today are bold and demonstrate the commitment of our ownership to increase diversity in leadership positions throughout the league.”

Comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion plans will be implemented at all 32 clubs and the league office to include education, training, and universal data collection. Additionally, an advisory panel, with input from the Fritz Pollard Alliance, will be convened to promote ideas to foster an inclusive culture of opportunity both on and off the field.

In other steps, for the first time, all 32 NFL clubs will host a coaching fellowship program geared towards minority candidates. These fellowships are full-time positions, ranging from one to two years, and provide NFL Legends, minority, and female participants with hands-on training in NFL coaching. While positions at each organization vary, these programs help identify and develop talent with the goal of advancing candidates to full-time coaching positions through promotion within.

Additionally, the NFL has two long-standing fellowship programs focused on increasing the pipeline for minority coaching and player personnel candidates– the Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Coaching Fellowship and the Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship.

The NFL’s Workplace Diversity Committee is comprised of owners and executive personnel to include: Chair, Art Rooney II (Pittsburgh Steelers); Michael Bidwill (Arizona Cardinals); Arthur Blank (Atlanta Falcons); Ozzie Newsome (Baltimore Ravens), Kim Pegula (Buffalo Bills), George H. McCaskey (Chicago Bears). E. Javier Loya (Houston Texans); and John Mara (New York Giants).

The NFL’s Competition Committee consists of two owners, two club presidents, two general managers, and three head coaches: Chair, Rich McKay (Atlanta Falcons), Ozzie Newsome (Baltimore Ravens), Stephen Jones (Dallas Cowboys), John Elway (Denver Broncos), Mark Murphy (Green Bay Packers), Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints), John Mara (New York Giants), Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers), Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins).

The policy changes were developed in consultation with the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which advocates for diversity and job equality in the league.

2020 RESOLUTION JC-1

Whereas, the member clubs believe that policies designed to promote equal employment opportunity and a diverse and inclusive workforce advance significant league interests, including improved decision making, enhanced business performance, and representing the NFL as an employer of choice that hires and promotes based on merit; and

Whereas, the member clubs have adopted policies extending over several decades in

furtherance of these goals; and

Whereas, the member clubs have long had in place policies designed to permit upward

mobility and advancement of club employees, particularly those in coaching and football

operations roles; and

Whereas, the member clubs believe that it is appropriate to take additional steps to enhance opportunities for employment and advancement of minorities and women in key positions, including leadership roles in coaching, personnel, and football operations,

 

Be it Resolved, that the following procedures will be added to the Anti-Tampering Policy:

 

(i) After the conclusion of the regular season through March 1, clubs are prohibited from

denying an assistant coach the opportunity to interview with a new team for a bona fide

Offensive Coordinator, Defensive Coordinator, or Special Teams Coordinator position.

Any dispute regarding whether the new team is offering a “bona fide” position will be

submitted promptly to the Commissioner, whose determination shall be final, binding

and not subject to further review. The Commissioner shall be authorized to request any

information that he deems necessary from the clubs involved in the dispute, and he may

consult with the Workplace Diversity Committee or Diversity Advisory Panel at his

discretion.

Criteria for hiring club:

  • In order for permission to be automatically granted, such a request cannot be for a shared position. A shared position is defined to include:
    • If there is another coach or consultant at the same position;
    • If there is a coach or consultant who has a similar responsibility title with the prefix “co-”;
    • If on the side of the ball for which permission is sought, there is a coach or consultant who has any coordinating responsibility (run game coordinator, pass game coordinator, etc.) or who had such responsibility in the prior season.
  • In order to ask for permission, there can be no assistant coach on the hiring club’s staff who has the title of assistant head coach or its equivalent.
  • For the purposes of this policy, the coordinator (offensive, defensive, or special teams) is defined as an individual whose job responsibilities at least include:
    • Leads/coordinates all “team” meetings on their side of the ball;
    • Reports directly to the Head Coach and supervises the position coaches on their side of the ball; and
    • Must play a role in the development of the game plan but is not required to call the plays during games.

 

(ii) Coaches employed by a club that earned a bye in the first week of the postseason may be interviewed during the week preceding the Wild Card games. Any such interview

must be completed within the current provisions of the Anti-Tampering Policy.

Interviews with coaches on all other clubs participating in the postseason may not begin

until after the Divisional Playoff games have been completed. Clubs who are not

participating in the playoffs cannot deny (from the conclusion of the regular season

until March 1) an assistant coach the opportunity to interview with a new team for a

bona fide Offensive Coordinator, Defensive Coordinator, or Special Teams

Coordinator position.

 

(iii) All other rules relating to interviewing coaches whose current employer-clubs are

participating in the playoffs remain in effect (for example, a contract cannot be

negotiated or signed until after the conclusion of the employer club’s playing season).

Nothing in this resolution modifies the rules pertaining to interviewing coaches for

another club’s head coach position.

 

(iv) After the conclusion of the regular season through March 1, clubs are prohibited from

denying a club employee who is not a high-level employee or a secondary football

executive from interviewing for a secondary football executive position. A secondary

football executive is defined as an individual who has the title of Assistant General

Manager and who is next in line to the Primary Football Executive and who

supervises the Player Personnel department, including college and pro scouting

departments. Each club is permitted to have one secondary football executive.

 

After March 1 and through the conclusion of the Annual Selection Meeting, if an

inquiring club seeks permission to discuss employment with a person who not a high-level employee or a secondary football executive and is under contract for the

succeeding season or seasons to another club, to offer him or her a position as a secondary football executive, the employer club is under no obligation to grant such

permission if such person’s current responsibilities include gathering information on

and evaluating draft-eligible players or veteran free agent players. At the discretion of

the employer club, however, such permission may be voluntarily granted.

 

After the Annual Selection Meeting, through June 30, clubs are prohibited from

denying a club employee who is not a high-level employee or a secondary football

executive from interviewing for a secondary football executive position.

 

No club may include in any employment contract provisions restricting opportunities

for upward mobility. Such clauses include a right to match; a designation of the

employee as a “high-level” employee; a requirement for compensation if the employee

moves to another club; or a commitment on the employee’s part to refuse any request

to interview for a position with another club, or other limitations in addition to those

established by this Policy. This does not prohibit a contractual commitment to promote

the employee to a high-level employee as currently permitted.

 

(v) For each season, all clubs are required to submit in writing (1) an organizational

reporting structure for the coaching staff with job descriptions for any coach who is a

coordinator or co-coordinator within that structure; and (2) an organizational reporting

structure for the player personnel/scouting department with job descriptions for each

club employee in a primary football executive position or a secondary football

executive position within that structure. These documents must be submitted to the

NFL’s Football Operations department prior to the club’s first regular season game of

each season.

 

Submitted by Workplace Diversity Committee

and Competition Committee

Effect: Establishes a system after the conclusion of the regular season, that prohibits a club

(i) from denying an assistant coach the opportunity to interview with a new team for a bona fide Offensive Coordinator, Defensive Coordinator, or Special Teams Coordinator position; and (ii) from denying a non-high-level/non-secondary football executive from interviewing for a bona fide Assistant General Manager position. In either case a contract could not be negotiated or signed until after the conclusion of the employer club’s playing season.

 

Reason: Diversity, equity, and inclusion. Increase the mobility opportunities of minority

coaches and personnel staff by providing them greater responsibility than their current role.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Traci Otey Blunt, NFL; COURTESY NFLmedia.com

 

NFL promotes Jeff Miller to Executive VP Communications, Public Affairs & Policy

NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL on Sunday, May 18, tapped JEFF MILLER as the league’s new Executive Vice President of Communications, Public Affairs and Policy.

Miller will be responsible for managing the league’s communications and public affairs. He will maintain his health and safety portfolio in addition to taking on his new role. Miller will continue to report directly to Commissioner Goodell.

“Jeff’s experience – from policy development, to government relations and philanthropic endeavors, as well as continuing to champion our highest priority, the health and safety of players – makes him the right fit, especially today,” said Commissioner Goodell. “Jeff has the trust and confidence of club ownership, partners, and league colleagues alike, as health and safety efforts have collaborated with the competition committee and the football community at all levels.”

Jeff Miller (file photo)

Since being named Executive Vice President of Health and Safety Initiatives in 2012, Miller has led the league’s ongoing efforts to improve the safety of the game. During his tenure, the league has driven innovation in protective equipment technologies and in the use of data and engineering to advance the game itself through rules changes and technique, in addition to supporting independent medical research and advancing overall player wellness. In 2016, the NFL and its 32 club owners pledged $100 million to fund those efforts as part of its commitment to continuously evolve the way football is taught and played, an initiative Miller has forwarded. The latest examples of that progress were on display last season when the league saw nearly 100 percent of players choose top-performing helmets, the permanent adoption of safety-focused kickoff rules changes, and a partnership with AWS poised to transform player health and safety using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NFL COMMUNICATIONS; COURTESY NFLmedia.com

Miller launched the league’s Washington office as Senior Vice President in charge of Governmental and Public Affairs. In that role, he was the primary representative to federal and state governments, interacting regularly with the White House, Congress, and administrative agencies, as well as coordinating with clubs on interactions with governors, mayors and state legislatures. Inspired by Zack Lystedt’s story and his family’s advocacy, Miller led a national campaign to pass youth sports concussion laws in all 50 states. He also oversaw creation of the league’s philanthropic organization, NFL Foundation, and managed the league’s community relations department.

Prior to joining the NFL, Miller spent a decade on Capitol Hill where he was Chief Counsel and Staff Director for the Antitrust and Business Competition Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. He earned his J.D. from University of Chicago Law School and his B.A. from University of Pennsylvania.

 

NFL Inspire Change Impact grows with $44 Million donated to Social Justice

League expands social justice grant recipient pool

NEW YORK – Since the launch of the NFL’s social justice initiative the league has contributed more than $44 million in grants to organizations across the country. This includes more than 750 grants provided by the NFL Foundation to current NFL players and NFL Legends for nonprofits of their choice. The NFL recently announced two new Inspire Change grants and seven grant renewals recently approved by the NFL’s Player-Owner Social Justice Working Group.

The new and renewed grants total $3.5 million and are in addition to national grants previously awarded over the last two years. Since 2018, the NFL has provided Inspire Change grants to 20 non-profit organizations in support of programs and initiatives that reduce barriers to opportunity, with a focus on three priority areas: education and economic advancement, police and community relations, and criminal justice reform. In January the league awarded nearly $3 million in social justice grants.

Recently in partnership with the Players Coalition the NFL Player-Owner Social Justice Working Group announced a $3.05 million donation to support COVID-19 relief in predominantly African American communities as part of the league’s social justice funding.

Also included in the $44 million total social justice contribution are this year’s club-player matching social justice funds. Adopted in 2018 by all 32 NFL clubs, this initiative encourages clubs to match the contributions of their players and work collaboratively to support local social justice organizations.

“The work of our Inspire Change grant partners has a tremendous impact on communities across the country,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Each of these organizations has worked to reduce barriers to opportunity and has provided resources that meet the needs of the communities they serve. We are proud to assist with their respective efforts to a more equal and just tomorrow.”

New Grant Recipients

New social justice grant recipients Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO, Inc.) and Success For All will both utilize Inspire Change funding for educational advancement. CLEO, Inc., focuses on inspiring, motivating, and preparing students from underrepresented communities to succeed in law school and beyond. Success For All’s dollars will support programs to improve education for at-risk students through The Getting Along Together Program and professional development support for 12 schools in Nashville, Tennessee, serving approximately 6000 students.

Grant Renewals

The Inspire Change grant has helped the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) further its Hope and Redemption Team, a group of former life prisoners who go back into eight California state prisons to provide on-going programming, rehabilitative services, and reentry support to incarcerated individuals. This team helps 3000 people annually create successful reentry plans and with 2020 funding, ARC will expand its services to youth inside Division of Juvenile Justice Facilities in California. Funding has also supported ARC’S wraparound services, including case management, mental health resources, and mentorship opportunities to improve the well-being of its members. ARC also works to advance policies that reduce youth contact with the justice system and reentry outcomes for individuals returning home from incarceration.

 

Big Brother Big Sisters of America will continue to use its funding to help bridge the gap between police officers and the communities they serve and provide more youth with a mentor who is always in their corner. “The Big Draft”, a national recruiting campaign possible in part by Inspire Change, has raised awareness of the importance of mentorship and has encouraged hundreds of men and women to sign up to be a Big.

 

NFL Inspire Change helps Gideon’s Promise fund its mentorship program for the next generation of public defenders. This year’s funding will help to expand the mentorship program, supporting training and leadership development for new mentors and mentees working in underserved communities across the country.

 

With the partnership of the NFL, NAF ​works in six key geographies – Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New York City, and Washington, DC – to: collaborate with business partners to provide exclusive work-based learning, internship, and employment opportunities for high school students; create paid group internship opportunities (Future Ready Labs) that enable students to collaborate on meaningful work for businesses in their communities; and offer professional development for high school educators and school administrators, empowering them to provide students a high-quality, career-focused education.

 

Operation HOPE utilizes Inspire Change support to encourage economic advancement, serving 37,964 adults and 14,688 youth in 2019. In addition to other programs emphasizing financial literacy and the accessibility of financial wellness, the organization has partnered with two NFL clubs to deliver services in their respective markets. Operation HOPE launched HOPE Inside Santa Clara in partnership with the San Francisco 49ers to extend financial inclusion and economic equality to historically underrepresented communities. In partnership with the Miami Dolphins, the organization has also delivered youth financial dignity programming, emphasizing not just financial literacy but inclusion in Florida.

 

Vera Institute of Justice has focused Inspire Change funding on the In Our Backyards and Serving Safely initiatives. In Our Backyards works to stop the rise of incarceration in small towns and rural communities, demonstrating how the overuse of jails and prisons in our communities disproportionately and unjustly burdens the poor and communities of color. As part of this initiative, Vera organized a visit to Broome and Tompkins counties in rural New York state with Michael Thomas and Antoine Bethea from the New York Giants, the third in a series of educational collaborations,  to speak with people most impacted by jail incarceration about what would bring real safety and justice to their county. Through Serving Safely, Vera has developed and advanced research that drives a national conversation about the role of police by examining alternatives to enforcement; providing tools that empower communities; directing people to resources outside the criminal justice system; and facilitating police-community collaborations.

 

VOTE NOLA continues its efforts to help to educate and protect the voting rights of the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, VOTE provided 10,000 N95 masks to individuals inside Louisiana prisons and jails.

 

For more information on Inspire Change and the NFL’s social justice initiative visit: www.nfl.com/inspirechange. Follow @InspireChange on Twitter and Instagram. On Facebook, follow at www.facebook.com/InspireChange/.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Kelsey Boyd, NFL; COURTESY NFLmedia.com