NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says league still needs to hire more minority head coaches

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NFL football commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to the media during league meetings Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

NEW YORK – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league still needs to hire more minority head coaches.

The latest rule change was aimed at increasing opportunities.

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Owners voted Tuesday to push in-person head coaching interviews back one more week until after all divisional playoff games have been completed to slow down the hiring process.

”(Diversity, equity, inclusion) has received more attention in our owners’ meetings than probably any subject we have been discussing in the last five years, and I think that focus has been helpful to the clubs as well as to all of us,” Goodell said Wednesday after the conclusion of the league’s fall meetings. “Our understanding of the priorities, the need to do this and how we do it better. I know the focus is on head coaches, we understand that, but we’re focused on the entire league. How do we continue to have diversity be a part of our league and make us better?

“And we reported on the broader diversity numbers both at the league level and the club level and there is significant progress. But, when you say frustration, I’m probably always frustrated by the pace of progress. Right? It’s never enough for yours truly. So, we obviously know we have work to do here, and the clubs are very focused on this, and it has to be a sustainable change, and I think that’s where the ownership is.”

NFL executive Dasha Smith said the league office and the 32 teams are 50% diverse. There are six minority head coaches, including three who are Black. The goal of pushing the in-person interviews back one week is to create more opportunities for candidates.

“We feel like that is a big step forward and, again, enhances our hiring process and that starts obviously this hiring cycle,” league executive Jonathan Beane said.


Colts owner Jim Irsay said there was no conversation at the meetings about approving Tom Brady’s offer to purchase a percentage of the Las Vegas Raiders. Brady already is a part-owner of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, who are also owned by Mark Davis. Brady reportedly has received a discounted purchase price to buy into the Raiders.

“The number just had to be a reasonable number for purchase price,” said Irsay, who is a member of the finance committee that would approve the deal.

The NFL created a special committee on ownership policy several months ago to oversee these matters. Goodell said they’ve met five times in the past 45 days.

“They’ve been hard at work,” Goodell said. “We want our ownership policies to be good for the owners that are in our league, for attracting new owners, particularly the diversity issue. And also, we’ve mentioned it before, former players who want to invest in our league. I think all of that is a positive thing for us. So, it’s just a balancing act. I hope that they’ll make recommendations by the March meeting so that we can act on that either at the March meeting or in the spring meeting.”


The league recently changed its gambling policy to increase the penalty for betting on the NFL and decreased it for betting on other sports. The league also reduced suspensions for several players, including Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams.

“We want to try to be as clear as we can with our policies,” Goodell said. “I heard feedback from our players about really understanding that and trying to be a little bit more clear on that. So it was an initiative we undertook. We obviously met with the union about it and we wanted to make sure it was clear that if you bet on the NFL, that’s not acceptable. That’s the key takeaway. We obviously believe that betting inside our facilities or on business is something that’s inappropriate. We monitor that and we’ve actually adjusted that discipline so that that’s lower, but the other one is betting on the NFL and that is the highest violation you can have. And we want to make sure people understand that.”



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