The National Football League has unveiled its new wokeness agenda and is paving the way for female coaches in the league.
At its annual owners meeting the league announced its new diversity and inclusion efforts for the 2022 season, NPR reported.
The league said that it will require each of its 32 teams to employ a “female or a member of an ethnic or racial minority” as an offensive assistant.
“For the roles, the NFL will reimburse teams up to $200,000 in 2022 and $205,000 in 2023 from a league fund for coaches,” NPR reported.
“In recent years, head coaches have predominantly had offensive backgrounds,” the league said. “We believe this resolution will assist greatly in continuing to source and identify diverse candidates earlier in their career, providing pipeline depth and furthering developing the diverse offensive pipeline.”
According to league data, the percentage of people of color in coaching positions increased from 35% in 2020 to 39% in 2021.
During that time, the number of minority general managers increased from five to seven. The number of minority assistant general managers went from three to six, while the number of minority defensive coordinators went from 13 to 15.
“While the increases noted above is a positive step, our diversity numbers are stagnant in the head coach and special teams coordinator roles and have slightly declined in the offensive coordinator role,” it said.
The league said it will also consider the diversity of prospective ownership groups who want to purchase teams.
“While we have made important progress, we have more work ahead of us to ensure we are approaching DEI holistically — including the need to evaluate and adjust policies, incentives, and additional requirements to ensure effectiveness and result in better outcomes for women and people of color,” it said.
Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II, the chairman of the NFL Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee, celebrated the rule changes.
“It’s a recognition that at the moment, when you look at stepping stones for a head coach, they are the coordinator positions,” he said. “We clearly have a trend where coaches are coming from the offensive side of the ball in recent years, and we clearly do not have as many minorities in the offensive coordinator [job].”
“The truth of the matter is that as of today, at least, there aren’t many women in the pool in terms of head coach,” the owner said. “We hope that is going to change over the years, but for that reason we didn’t see it as inhibiting the number of interviews for racial minorities at this point in time. Obviously, we can address that as time goes on, but for now we didn’t see that as an issue.
“Really, we are looking at probably the early stages of women entering the coaching ranks, so we may be a little ways away before that becomes a problem,” he said.