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  • Anthony J. Mungin

The Rooney Rule: Release Valve or Noose

We can il-afford to let any'mo coloreds leave the plantation!

Coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins was recently fired, supposedly due to internal strife and another disappointing season. Although Flores was allegedly told in 2019 to start losing games, purportedly in exchange for a 100,000-dollar per game bonus. Quite cheap if you ask me, asking a winning coach to sell his soul, risk his integrity for the greater good of the team owner.

While I much of the proposition was likely off the record, couched in evasive terms, leaving owner Stephen Ross room to later worm his way out, Flores’ allegations seem plausible. Especially since teams with the worst records receives better picks in the upcoming NFL draft. Moreover, an undisclosed witness overheard the offer, and GM Chris Grier substantiated the indecent proposal.

I doubt the sports world has ever seen anything sleazier. Make no bones about it, Flores no longer has a job in the NFL because he refused to partake of the forbidden fruit.

But rest assured, the explainers-in-chiefs at Miami Dolphin’s headquarters have already hammered out a candy-coated response. Something along the lines of its strong commitment to integrity and unprecedented love for the game. With a subsequent spiel about how its core values automatically disallows the immoral acts Flores accused. PR responses conveniently exclamated by Ross’s accompanying denunciations that, "His [Brian Flores’] allegations are false, malicious, and defamatory!"

Flores’ racial discrimination talks not only raises red flags but comes at a most inopportune time. The NFL is still reeling from looming accusations by former head coach Jon Gruden which may further expose its discriminatory practices. Now at last, both the NFL and three teams (Dolphins, Giants, Broncos) are under heavy fire in Flores’ lawsuit.

I actually applaud the brother for displaying some backbone by exposing certain quietly kept secrets. With Brian’s recent departure and David Sully’s termination in the weeks prior, there is now only one black NFL coach (Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburg Steelers). It's safe to conclude that Tomlin is likewise dangling from a thread. But for now, he is safe. It is unlikely in light of the forgoing mischiefs; the Steelers would dare fire the only black coach left standing.

Tomlin's ensuing fate aside, black coaches and players alike have had a longstanding belief that the NFL is run with a plantation mentality—100% of the owners are billionaires, 98% of the coaches are white, and 75% of the players are black.

Flore's discrimination accusation also mentions that his interviews with three NFL teams were all a sham. What bolstered his allegations was when Bill Belichick of the New England Patriot texted him, “Congratulations! You got the Giants head coaching job!” Belichick by his own admission later realized he “fucked up” by texting the wrong guy. He said as much in a subsequent text.

The day of the texted notification was Tuesday, January 24th, Flores’ interview wasn’t until Thursday, three days later. In essence, Flores was knowingly walking into a sham interview where the decision had already been made to hire Brian Daboll as the Giants’ new head coach. Conceivably, Flores knew that failing to show could prove detrimental. Perhaps, he even understood the tangled web that had already been woven—the no-win situation. That no good could come from giving them the satisfaction of declaring he [Flores] was given a chance and pulled a no show. Their so-called corroborating evidence that he is unreliable and unfit.

It comes as no surprise that America’s white corporations are notorious for wasting black people’ time, essentially using them as pawns. But perhaps no one told them that black people are no body’s fool. For coach Flores, it was an obvious red herring that three teams interviewed the same black man, and none made him an offer.

The sheer arrogance of the white power structure is bested only by the perplexities they have about why blacks do not fancy or trust and believe. Nothing was heard about a Giants’ apology, nothing about their admitting any fault. Instead, the Giants organization shamelessly and foolishly boasted about how pleased they were with their hiring decision.

I might add it’s so classic, that chapter in white people’s playbooks that must read: when being exposed for racial discrimination, deny deny deny! then deploy the legendary intimidation tactic. Floating the unspoken threat that Brian Flores and any other black coach who dare shine a spotlight on such dirty deeds will never coach again. Last I checked, no NFL owner is breaking down doors to hire black coaches anyway. So, what really is there to lose?

Many wonder what the premise of the infamous Rooney Rule is, if not to make it harder for NFL sports teams to exclude blacks from coaching jobs. There’s nothing more ironic than a sport that has turned its backs on traditional notions about equal opportunity allowing owners and executives, or even NFL officials to do an end-run around black people’s human rights. This is not merely another case in which blacks get exploited but instead it involves institutionalized racism disguised as equality.

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