There was a time when some thought the Fritz Pollard Alliance failed to show sufficient zeal regarding the league’s hiring practices. Those days definitely have ended.
Now led by former NFL G.M. and league executive Rod Graves, who last week called the situation “shameful,” the group issued a strong and clear statement on Monday attacking the absence of minority coaches and General Managers.
“We were painfully reminded through this past hiring cycle that attaining diverse leadership in the NFL can only happen through the willful actions of the team owners and decision makers,” the statement begins. “True devotion to diversity starts with a recognition of the profound good that it can bring to the Game. It embraces a belief that the benefactors who contribute to the business of football should also share in the benefits. It embraces a core belief that the Game should be accessible at every level for those that possess the skills and who have the resources to meet their aspirations.
“The abysmal record of hiring people of color in high ranking levels of NFL management is a reminder of the dark periods of civil rights history. In 100 years of professional football, the NFL has moved from Fritz Pollard as its first African-American Head Coach in 1921 to four Head Coaches of color in 2020. The League has only one African-American General Manager. There are no African-American club presidents.”