National Football League finds Raiders complied with Rooney Rule after investigation

Middlekauff Early offseason notes on the 49ers and Raiders

Middlekauff Early offseason notes on the 49ers and Raiders

Following the announcement of the hiring of Jon Gruden as the next head coach of the Oakland Raiders, the National Football League had conducted a thorough investigation on if the team had abided by the "Rooney Rule".

The Rooney Rule was established in 2003 to give minority candidates an equal opportunity when teams hire head coaches and other management positions.

To comply with the Rooney Rule, the Raiders interviewed USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin and the team's former tight ends coach, Bobby Johnson, before signing Gruden to a 10-year, $100 million deal on January 10.

Davis added: "I never wavered from all in and this time he didn't waiver either".

Two lawyers from the Fritz Pollard Alliance, the advocacy group that works with the National Football League to promote diversity in the coaching and front office ranks, asked the National Football League to investigate the Gruden hiring last week.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance said in a statement it "strongly" disagrees with the findings, citing three points of contention.

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The Fritz Pollard Alliance said last week it was "deeply concerned by reports" that Raiders owner Mark Davis had reached an agreement with Gruden before interviewing any minority candidates.

"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", the statement continued.

Gruden is in his second stint as coach of the Raiders after being traded by Oakland to Tampa Bay following the 2001 season. Davis crossed the line, and we are disappointed in the League's decision. Davis told reporters that he would have retained coach Jack Del Rio, whom he fired on December 31 minutes after the season finale and months after a four-year extension in February, if not for the belief Gruden would replace him. Former Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, however, was apparently eager to get back to coaching for the 2018 season.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance doesn't believe the interviews fulfilled the spirit of the rule, however. Many felt both firings were unfair due to Green only having one losing season in ten years and Dungy only missing the playoffs once in four years as head coaches.

Even if the interviews with Johnson and Martin occurred before Gruden signed his contract. One practical application could be potentially requiring teams to immediately report to the league office any interviews conducted with candidates not now employed by NFL teams. It is believed Davis, if determined to have violated the Rooney Rule, would have faced at least a $500,000 fine as discipline.

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