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Report: Black coaches are last hired, first fired
AP Sports Writer
September 30, 2002

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr. released a report Monday that criticizes the NFL's hiring practice involving black head coaches, and threatened to sue the league if it does not adhere to suggestions to remedy the situation. ADVERTISEMENT

The report, called ``Black Coaches in the National Football League: Superior Performance, Inferior Opportunities,’’ was compiled by the Washington law firm of Mehri & Skalet.

It addresses the league’s hiring and firing of minority coaches, using statistical information compiled over the last 15 years.

Calls to the NFL on Monday night were not immediately returned.

Dr. Janice Madden, a labor economist, determined that black coaches averaged 1.1 more wins per season than white coaches and led their teams to the playoffs 67 percent of the time compared with 39 percent of the time for white coaches.

But Cochran noted there have been only five black head coaches since 1986 – Art Shell, Dennis Green, Tony Dungy, Ray Rhodes and Herman Edwards. Only Indianapolis’ Dungy and Edwards of the New York Jets are currently employed as head coaches.

``Black coaches are being held to a higher standard,'' Cochran said at a news conference. ``Now is the time for the NFL to step up and make a change.''

To stimulate the hiring of African-Americans as head coaches, Cochran proposed that commissioner Paul Tagliabue ``reward at least one team each year for developing a diverse front office’’ with a draft pick.

He also asked the NFL to require team owners to include diverse racial groups'' when interviewing candidates for coaching positions. According to the report,owners can choose to opt out of this requirement … but to do so they must forfeit a draft pick.’’

Cochran suggested teams surrender a first-round pick for refusing to interview minorities for head coaching jobs, and a third-round pick for not interviewing minorities for assistant head coach or coordinator.

The creators of the report plan to talk to Tagliabue about their proposal in the next few days. Cochran said he is prepared to take legal action.

We can litigate this. We can bring a lawsuit,'' Cochran said.I think the NFL is reasonable. They understand that this can end up in the courts, and they’d rather not see that happen. But let’s see if we can have a dialogue. You only litigate after you’ve done everything you can to negotiate.’’

Cyrus Mehri, whose name is under Cochran’s on the report, served as counsel in two of the largest race discrimination cases in history, involving Texaco and Coca-Cola.

``We’re asking for a fair opportunity to compete,’’ Mehri said.

Cochran said he doesn’t want to bully the NFL or make money on the deal.

``Our motives are driven not by personal desire or financial gain, but to correct what we see as a great inequity in America’s game,’’ Cochran said.

Mehri said black coaches have less of a chance to retain their job than their white counterparts.

One bad year and you're out,'' he said.There seems to be a lack of patience as far as black coaches are concerned.’’

Well, I agree that there should be more black coaches in the league, but I don’t know about penalizing them with draft picks. If I’m not wrong wasn’t Dennis Green the longest active head coach until he got fired. And Johnnie Cochran is behind it. That should tell you enough about it.

Johnnie Cochram…LOLOLOLOL

Dennis Green coached the Vikings for ten seasons, compiling a 97-62 regular season record, but only a 4-8 post-season record, including a shockingly embarrassing loss to the Falcons in the 1998 NFC Championship Game after a 15-1 regular season. He had his chance and the owner (Red McCombs) decided to make a change. The owner owns the team and has the right to make the hiring and firing decisions, case closed. No liberal lawyers should tell a person who invested 3 or 4 hundred million dollars into an NFL franchise who he or she should hire. /P/Tony Dungy was 54-42 in his six season with the Buccaneers, but again, only 2-4 in the post-season and the owners (the Glazer family) wanted a change and went with Jon Gruden. Hey, Dungy had a chance to build an offense in Tampa but never did. He got six full seasons which is more than most coaches get today, and he’s now coaching the Colts who fired their white head coach Jim Mora. /P/ Ray Rhodes coached the Eagles for four seasons and the Packers for one season. He had a couple decent years in Philly, and a forgettable one in Green Bay. He now coaches the Broncos defense and is doing a very good job. Obviously, Rhodes is more suited for a coordinator’s job than a coach’s job. /P/ There are other examples, but by no means do black head coaches get one year to make a difference and then get fired. Ridiculous statement by liberal civil-rights types just trying to make a name for themselves.

Lies, damn lies, and statistics. You can make the numbers say what you want them to (in most cases, anyway). And just because two things are related does not prove causality. And who would want to be hired to fill someone else’s quota? I sure as hell wouldn’t. I am not saying that racial problems don’t exist in the NFL, but this is not the way to fix it.

When is this country going to realize how childish and immature some of these politically correct accusations are? Perhaps Johnny Cochrane’s thirst for fame and money was not quenched with the O.J. Simpson trial. But then again lawyers never are satisfied.

i like the bucs, but im glad dungys gone personally because he wasnt gettin it done. NOW, it seems to me white players are being held to a “higher standard” cuz there is not proportional representation of them in the nfl, in relation to blacks, etc.

I dont know specific #s, but I would be willing to bet that there are more black players than white, or more black starters. So why isnt anyone complaining about that? If true equality is the goal, there should be quotas to fill so that the teams consist of exactly half black players/starters and half white players/starters. Now that sounds a little stupid, doesnt it?

This is sad. I mean, how come there are no Asian or Hispanic coaches? I ask all of my bretheren who are in the “minority” to contact Mr Glove don’t fit, oops, I mean Johnny Cocharan and ask to sue the NHL, NFL, WWE and MLS for not having any Asian’s running the show. Geesh, it is not about race, it is about the game. Just go away Johnny

A coaches record is not a measure of his success. Success in the NFL is either a Superbowl Championship, or measured by how much the team improves from season to season. It’s all that matters.

I saw that in the Baltimore Sun and passed right over it…If Cochran sues the NFL guess who gets all the money, Cochran. When Peter Angelos (owner of Orioles) made a class action suit against Big Tobacco he got hundreds of millions while people who were dieing got like 2cents each. Lets just say cochran has alterior motives.

Here are some interesting Stats:
In America, business schools are aware of demgraphic realities. Wharton had 17 percent minorities in their incoming class in 1997, Havard had 18 percent, and Stanford had 25 percent. These numbers don’t include the foreign students who account for an additional 25 percent of incoming classes. This means that 40 to 50 percent of today’s top business school students are either foreign born or from minority American backgrounds. If you are white and a male you will have compete for the maybe 50% of remaining openings.
Wouldn’t it be easier on everyone if all the colleges had to do is rank order the applying students, regardless of race, crede or nationality?
Best of Luck.

Im not being racist but if they is how they want to play. Then can’t the whites sue says they are under represented in players positions of teams. If whites count for 70%+ of the people of the United States, then shouldn’t they count 70% of all the players on the field. They should do the same in basketball where the whites are totally under represented.

Forget whether or not they are skilled enough for the position lets look at the race card first.

Im being sarcastic about much of this no need to flame me. But bring up the race card when things aren’t working doesn’t help at all just causes more divides.

If you think about it, it takes a lot of time before things become totally intergrated. People complain that there are not enough minorities running the larger corporations. Well have you seen how old they are that are running the company? They have been working 35+ years before they got that position. It would be natural that it would take 35 + years before they would hire a minority. They have to move up the ranks before they can fill the top spot.

As I look through some of the comments listed here I think it is sad that people can be so narrow minded as to say we should have Hispanic and Asian coaches because of the lawsuit. What is worse is to suggest that maybe we need to have equality for more races of starters than black men. The only race in America that has all odds against them before they begin are African Americans. Do your research, do not just take my word for it. Start with education, then go to employment, then go to housing, then go to credit, or just being a consumer. I lived the life. I’ve been shorted (discriminated against) because I’m a black man. I’ve been cheated out of positions because of my color and I know I was the better man for the position. So, to say that this is not important or that the issue is menial means that A you are racist or B you care nothing for humanity. Tampa Bay were NEVER Super Bowl contengents before Tony Dungy and when was the last time the Vikings made it before Bill Parcel. I rest my case. Do your research before making blind statements.

I’m true 2 the game and the word.

What about women coaching? I know there aren’t any that play in the NFL, but they are the largest part of the population on the planet. They should have over 50% of the coaching jobs.

Same with people from China. There are a lot of them, shouldn’t they have coaching jobs?

What, you think Native Americans have it easy? What a whining bullshitter…

What is the end game of this liberal PC ideology? A divided weak society. No one wants to be an Americian anymore. No one wants to be English, French, German or Australian. It is classic divide and conquer that the bin lardens of this world will exploit. FreddieII I agree there are a lot of problems but the solutions being implemented to try and fix them are suicide.

Just a Minor point but Bill Parcells was never associated with the Vikings, he was with the Giants and Patriots. Before Deny Green there was a Coach there who actually took them to the SuperBowl 3 times - Bud Grant ? And Denny Green was the author of his own demise with his HUGE ASS EGO - (Yeah I am a Viking fan and just a little bit Bitter)

tell that to the native indians.

First off, I don’t think the lawsuit holds water for this reason: Does Cochran have any proof? Statistics are great but for the law you need proof and unless someone has actually said, " We don’t want you because you’re black" or something similar I don’t think he has any grounds for a lawsuit. Secondly, and this is just my opinion, I think civil rights has turned more into “Black rights” and leaves out minorities that really need help such as Native Americans.