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Posted at 2:34 PM ET, 11/23/2010

Phillip Daniels says Rooney Rule is "terrible"

By Dan Steinberg

Redskins defensive end Phillip Daniels has talked frequently about his desire to get into the worlds of broadcasting and radio after his playing days end. He's getting a taste with a two-hour HD radio show on the Sports Journey Broadcast Network that debuted this week, and he seems to understand what makes for good radio.

"The Rooney Rule is a terrible rule," he said, while talking about Vikings interim coach Leslie Frazier. "I mean, they're just bringing guys in, interviewing guys on their staff just to fulfill the rule. I don't agree with it. None of those guys ever get the job. They just bring them in, waste their time and then someone else gets the job. I guess it's been taken advantage of."

Which is when one of Daniels's co-hosts mentioned the local example, with Jerry Gray interviewing for his boss's job last season before Jim Zorn had even been fired.

"I think it caused a lot of controversy with the coaching staff," Daniels said. "I guess he tried to sneak it in, and the other coaches found out. Coach Zorn, I don't think none of those guys were happy with it. I just think it's a rule that people take advantage of, and it shouldn't be that way. There's nothing you can do. I mean, guys gonna like who they like, they're gonna want who they want. Owners are gonna pay their money to a guy who they want to pay their money too. That's point-blank. It's a great rule, but it ain't working."

Speaking of Jim Zorn, Daniels also said that the Redskins were considering putting in special teams coach Danny Smith as the interim coach if they fired Zorn mid-stream last season. This came during a pretty excellent discussion of Smith's eccentricities with wide receiver Roydell Williams.

"One thing about Danny is that Danny, he actually thinks he's one of us, a player, who can just go out there and do it himself," Daniels said. "He comes to me all the time and says hey, what've got in your locker? He will take some of my supplements to get wired up to go out there on the sidelines and just get in guys' [faces] and just go."

"I rode on the bus, going to the game," Williams said while laughing. "And I look beside me, he's sitting across from me, he's got his bottle of the water and he's busting open packs of Spark and just pouring it in there, like two packs into 12 ounces of water."

"That's why he's like that," Daniels agreed.

"He cracks his jokes too, he gets you to laugh too," Williams said. "He's a really smart coach, he really knows the scheme and how to coach you into his scheme. I mean, he's really like the smartest special teams guy I've ever been associated with."

By Dan Steinberg  | November 23, 2010; 2:34 PM ET
Categories:  Media, Redskins  
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Comments

The rule is beyond terrible. I understand the intent of it, however, its application makes no sense. The problem with football is there’s only 32 head coaching jobs so to have an affirmative action type requirement (I know there are major differences I’m using the comparison in its most simplistic form) for such a unique job function probably does more harm then good. I don’t know what the answer is but I know it’s not this.

Posted by: doesntmatter | November 23, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

The rule is beyond terrible. I understand the intent of it, however, its application makes no sense. The problem with football is there’s only 32 head coaching jobs so to have an affirmative action type requirement (I know there are major differences I’m using the comparison in its most simplistic form) for such a unique job function probably does more harm then good. I don’t know what the answer is but I know it’s not this.

Posted by: doesntmatter | November 23, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

The Rooney Rule not only spits in the face of the law, it spits in the face of common sense.

First of all, lets just get this part out of the way: the Rooney Rule is illegal. It stands in direct violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibiting discrimination in the workplace. If the Rooney Rule were ever challenged in court, it would be handily defeated. You cannot take race into consideration in the hiring process, and you'd have a tough time arguing to any judge that interviewing is not part of the hiring process. If there is a racial quota in the interviewing process--which is exactly what the Rooney Rule is--then that is without any doubt illegal. The problem is finding a coach with the guts to challenge it in court.

Second of all, the Rooney Rule is totally unnecessary. There are disproportionately more black coaches than there are blacks in our population, which--given logic and reason--SHOULD satisfy proponents of the rule. But it doesn't satisfy them because proponents almost always point to the proportion of black players to black coaches, as if that is somehow relevant (it is not). It is unsurprising that there is no correlation and it has nothing to do with race.

There is no correlation between being a good player and being a good coach because the skills required are quite different. Joe Gibbs never had a chance of playing in the NFL, but he's in the Hall of Fame as a coach. Why? Whereas black athletes are disproportionately faster than their white, Hispanic, and Asian counterparts, you cannot, however, teach speed to your players. And blacks are not disproportionately better at teaching and motivating players (no racial group is), which are precisely the skills required to be a good coach.

Lastly, the one major factor that is universally ignored by the media and by the proponents of the Rooney Rule, is that you have to have a college degree to become a college football coach. Many college coaches go on to become NFL coaches, but you can't become a college coach without a college degree. Black males make up less than 3% of Americans with at least a bachelor degree. This makes the pool of possible black candidates for college head coaches relatively tiny compared to white candidates. This has nothing to do with racism on the part of owners.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 23, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh, geez, Barno . . .

Gotta call you out. I'm neither the first nor the last.

You may be a racist, ignorant, loose-with-the-facts, deranged, basement-living, speed-typing fool, but you are OUR racist, ignorant, loose-with-the-facts, deranged, basement-living, speed-typing fool.

May God have mercy on your soul.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | November 23, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Stevie, you can call me a lot of things but racist isn't one of them. You'll have a hard time convincing anyone that those who want colorblind equal opportunity for all regardless of race or ethnicity are the ones who are racist.

You know you've lost the argument when all you can offer in a counterargument is "well, I disagree with you therefore you must be a racist."

Posted by: Barno1 | November 23, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, Barno, I only know you through these threads over the years, and even with that limited knowledge, I know that no one ever made any money "arguing" with you by using "facts."

Your family crest must be whatever is Latin for, "Never Let the Facts Get in the Way of a Good Story."

The last thing you, me, or any readers here might need is me arguing your ridiculous points (though there are plenty of people around who may, in fact, be lining up to do so).

Choosing not to debate is not the same as losing a debate.

I was just calling you out, as is right and good.

(So totally dig that you copped to being ignorant, loose-with-the-facts, deranged, basement-living, and a speed-typing fool. Made my day. Good on ya, mate.)

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | November 23, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Stevie,

That might be the single least intelligent post I have ever read. Let me paraphrase you: "I've got plenty of facts that run counter to your points but I'm just not going to use them because...well, no reason. Just because."

And sure, choosing not to debate is not losing the debate. It's calling me a 'racist' that lost you the debate. I didn't post anything that could even remotely be construed as racist. Calling me something as despicable as 'racist' without any basis whatsoever for it shows me just what kind of person you are. And it shows everyone reading this that you have absolutely no intelligent counterargument to offer.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 23, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Oh, c'mon, you've WRITTEN less intelligent posts, Barno; you must have read many less intelligent than mine.

Not debating you, racist. Calling you out. That is all. See ya!

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | November 23, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Exactly how many college coaches go on to become NFL coaches? Typically NFL coaches come up through the ranks of the NFL (i.e. start low and rise thru the ranks) and not come from college. In fact, very few go through that route.

Also, you say there are disproportionately more black coaches than black people in the US population. Perhaps. But when did this trend start? Go back 10-15 years and you'll be hard pressed to find minority head coaches in the NFL. Only recently have there been an increase in minority NFL coaches.

And how does the Rooney Rule "spit in the face of US law"? AFAIK, it doesn't say you must hire a minority coach. It just says you must give them a chance. Doesn't say you can't interview white coaches either. So how does it negatively impact people of other races? And it certainly isn't affirmative account (which requires you to fill a quota). Get the difference?

In fact, I think the Rooney Rule should be expanded to ALL races to stop the chronic recycling of the same usual suspects. Look at Matt Millen...by all means he did a horrible job with the Lions and yet he's on multiple NFL TV shows. I would not be surprised if he's offered a job to run another team soon.

Posted by: tundey | November 23, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

"Exactly how many college coaches go on to become NFL coaches? Typically NFL coaches come up through the ranks of the NFL (i.e. start low and rise thru the ranks) and not come from college. In fact, very few go through that route."

Mike Shanahan: started at Northern Arizona University

Andy Reid: started coaching at BYU

Wade Phillips: started coaching at the University of Houston

Tom Coughlin: started coaching at Rochester Institute of Technology

I just started with the NFC East, do you want me to continue through the rest of the NFL to show how ridiculous your comment is that "very few NFL coaches come up through college"?

As for "it's not affirmative action, which requires you to fill a quota" well you must be subscribing to some other description of affirmative action than the rest of Americans. Quotas, which were ruled unconstitutional 32 years ago in Bakke vs California, are no longer a part of the affirmative action landscape. Affirmative action today is ANY steps or policy aimed at increasing representation of women or minorities. Certainly, we can agree that the Rooney Rule is aimed at increasing the number of black coaches.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 23, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Mike Tomlin's super bowl ring wants to know why this is a problem? Because every black coach that gets hired is one less job for the Bruce Cosletts of the world?

Posted by: dlgood | November 24, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

If I may, Affirmative Action is about "casting the net" to ensure equal access to opportunities to positions across demographics. Hence, Google, Inc., cannot only recruit for job candidates at predominately white, male-only colleges. It must go to Spellman, Morehouse, UVA, VT, etc in casting the net more appropriately to find talent.

The Rooney Rule does basically the same. It ensures that the net is cast as wide as possible by "forcing" (if you will) teams to consider candidates that are black as well. It is not racist, nor does it violate the Civil Rights Act. It ensures that the net is cast. The obvious problem with the rule is that teams just conform to the rule, with a priori knowledge that they will hire someone else... perhaps even with a "gentleman's agreement" deal in place with someone else. Or will even ask to opt-out of the rule (e.g., Jerry Jones) because they might have their man already. This is actually logical because their organization is admitting that they'd be wasting another guy's time.

It is simply a rule that is well-intentioned, but difficult to actually transform hiring practices, since NFL coaching vacancies are not usually filled via career expos. Because the NFL is fairly inbred (which is not surprise), its hiring practices will reflect that of any inbred institution. It will not be very diverse, and there will be a sense of an "old boy network". So the outcome is that Leslie Frazier and Perry Fewell run all over the country every year just to fulfill the rule.

Posted by: law3 | November 29, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

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