Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Sports | By Brandy Patterson

National Football League probing possible 'Rooney rule' breach in Raiders deal

National Football League probing possible 'Rooney rule' breach in Raiders deal

Running backs coach Jemal Singleton is reportedly joining the Oakland Raiders coaching staff.

The Oakland Raiders were in a don't think-don't blink situation with their coaching staff this offseason, deciding to fire Jack Del Rio and hire Jon Gruden, while throwing $100 million over 10 years at the former Raiders coach who was lured out of the ESPN "Monday Night Football" booth.

The NFL confirmed on Thursday it was examining the circumstances surrounding Gruden's appointment, ESPN reported.

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The investigation was requested by the Fritz Pollard Alliance, a group that promotes minority hiring in the league, which said Wednesday it was concerned that Raiders owner Mark Davis came to an agreement with Gruden before the team interviewed minority candidates, as required by the NFL under the rule since 2003.

While Gruden and none of his three coordinator hires are minorities, Oakland did retain Thompson as tight ends coach from the previous coaching regime.

The timing is questionable to say the least - Gruden has been coy about how long he's actually been on board with returning to Oakland, but he did confirm he'd been talking to Davis for "a few weeks" at the press conference. Prior to Gruden's official hiring, the Fritz Pollard Alliance initially believed the Raiders were in compliance with the Rooney Rule.

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Tom Flores was the first Hispanic coach to win a Super Bowl, while the Raiders also hired Hue Jackson as coach in 2011 and now employs McKenzie.

"I would trust the judgment and integrity of Mark Davis and Reggie McKenzie to the point that they have already spoken to minority candidates who could be available veteran coaches, just like Jon Gruden is a veteran ex-coach", Wooten said.

The Rooney Rule, created at the behest of Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, is meant to break up the old boy's network that keeps recycling coaches, oftentimes leaving minority coaching candidates by the wayside.

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Whether it was hiring a young linebackers coach named John Madden as their head coach in 1969, a Super Bowl squad led by a Latino head coach and QB in the '80s or hiring the NFL's first Black head coach in Art Shell, the franchise often went against the norms of the day.

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