Doug Robinson: NFL on slippery slope with its hiring rules

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 22 2013 10:42 p.m. MST

Should something be done to tweak the rosters to even up the black-white numbers on the field? After all, Major League Baseball has done a lot of hand-wringing about the decline of black players in baseball (down to about 9 percent of the league). Last fall there were charges leveled against the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves because they have too many white players on their roster.

This business of race counting is tricky.

One former NFL player — also a minority — says there is a dearth of white skill players "because most of those positions are coached by African-Americans. That's something that's happened in the last 20 years. People are predisposed to hire people who are like they are. Players talk about it all the time — the fact that black players play those positions. When I played, our team had one white running back out of six on the roster. He was the only white guy on the team. There are a lot of fast white guys who should be the speed guy, but they aren't thought of that way. It's absolutely true (there's a bias). Sometimes white coaches are more guilty of that than the black coaches. In my career, I heard it (bias) more from white coaches. It works against black quarterbacks, too. Coaches would rather have a black quarterback and wide receiver and a white quarterback."

If the NFL really wants to bore further into social manipulation, they've got a lot of work to do.


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