While Bryson was talking about the draft in NFL, a question came from the floor. The question asked about work done on the Rooney Rule – a rule that places racial requirements on the candidates interviewed for coaching positions. Justification for the Rooney Rule seems obvious, even if the Brian Flores lawsuit questions the effectiveness. Surely, we would expect that the racial profile of the coaches in the NFL should approximate the racial profile of the players. A sizable difference between the profile of the coaches and the players is worthy of investigation and interventions such as the Rooney Rule.
It seems to me that we are less willing to consider the difference between the racial profile of the players and the racial profile of the general population. The differences are illustrated in the picture below (taken from a 2014 report by Stephen Bradbury on black, minority and ethnic involvement in UK football). Is it possible that the greater representation of BME in the players category indicates a level of economic disadvantage in the background of these players? Most (sports) people seem to shy away from such questions. Maybe the potential solutions are too big to contemplate. We are entertained by the gladiators in the arena, we celebrate their journeys to arena, but we avoid thinking too much about how they came to be there and what it says about our society.