Following a one-week investigation, the NFL has determined the Oakland Raiders did not violate the league’s Rooney Rule during the search of its new head coach.
As previously reported, the team was facing potential repercussions after it inked a 10-year, $100 million contract with Jon Gruden, who has replaced Raiders’ former head coach Jack Del Rio. The Fritz Pollard Alliance, a watchdog for diversity in the NFL, requested an investigation to determine if the Raiders had complied with the Rooney Rule, which requires team owners to interview at least one minority head coach candidate.
According to NFL.com, Raiders’ general manager Reggie McKenzie is believed to have fulfilled his obligation by interviewing Oakland tight ends coach Bobby Johnson and USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin before Gruden was officially hired; however, many suspected other head coach candidates did not receive a fair shot, as the team had admitted to pursuing Gruden well before Del Rio was fired.
The Fritz Pollard Alliance said they do not agree with the league’s conclusion.
“We believe the facts overwhelmingly point in the other direction,” the Alliance said in a statement obtained by NFL Network's Steve Wyche. “In his enthusiasm to hire Jon Gruden, Raiders' owner Mark Davis failed to fulfill his obligation under the rule and should step forward and acknowledge he violated the rule. The NFL broke ground when it created the Rooney Rule, but it made the wrong call in refusing to penalize Mark Davis in this instance. Davis crossed the line, and we are disappointed in the League's decision. The Rooney Rule and all of the League's equal opportunity efforts need to be strengthened. We have called for meetings with the League to ensure that a process like this never happens again.”