But, with nearly 70 percent of the NFL populated by African-American players, it took a threatened lawsuit in 2002 by the late Johnnie Cochran and attorney Cyrus Mehri to open up the coaching ranks to more African-Americans. In 2002, there were just two head coaches who are black, and today there are six. Yet this still represents just 18 percent of the positions. And teams have begun turning their backs on rules that the NFL put in place as a result of the threatened lawsuit, which require teams to interview at least one minority candidate for every vacancy. Lately, these rules have been blatantly ignored.

Still, Zirin writes, “… expect the NFL and its stenographers in the press to wrench their arms out of their sockets, patting themselves on the back for Smith’s and Dungy’s success.”


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