Tony Dungy On Minority-Hiring Proposal: "I'm Personally Not For It"

The Hall of Fame coach opposes a proposal that would improve teams' draft positioning for hiring a minority head coach or GM

Tiki and Tierney
May 18, 2020 - 6:00 pm
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Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn does not support an NFL proposal that would incentivize the hiring of minority head coaches and general managers. To be clear, Lynn is not opposed to hiring minorities; he just doesn’t think teams should be rewarded with draft picks as a result.

Hall of Fame NFL head coach Tony Dungy isn’t a fan of the proposal either.

“I’m personally not for it,” Dungy said on Tiki & Tierney. “I can see the coaches’ points of view, especially the minority coaches. ‘Hey, I don’t want to think I got hired just because you’re going to get an extra draft choice. I want to get hired because I’m the best person. I don’t want that extra draft choice to help me. I don’t want you to think I need more to succeed.’ So I understand all that.”

The proposal, if enacted, would reportedly improve teams’ third-round draft pick by six slots if they hire a minority head coach, 10 slots if they hire a minority general manager, and 16 slots if they hire both.

“I think it’s kind of like the pass interference rule of last year,” Dungy said. “People felt like something needed to be done. Maybe it’s not exactly the right thing. Hopefully this spurs some conversation and maybe we come up with a different kind of incentive. I’m not for it personally, but I understand where they’re coming from.”

Dungy, 64, coached in the NFL for nearly three decades. He was head coach of the Buccaneers from 1996 to 2001 and head coach of the Colts from 2002 to 2008. He believes that most owners put forth a good-faith effort when considering minority head coaches and executives for job openings. 

“I think a majority of them want to see the right thing done,” Dungy said. “They want to hire the best people. I just don’t think they know how. . . . I do think everybody wants to win, and I think you have to show people how exploring other options can help you win. I think that’s what we have to get across.”

Ultimately, Dungy wants the best candidates, regardless of race, to be hired. He also understands that fans could be angered if hiring practices veer toward affirmative action.

“I get it,” Dungy said. “You just have to kind of ignore that and say, ‘It is good. It’s going to be beneficial if it’s done the right way.’ My bigger problem and deeper problem is how do you legislate doing the right thing? So you pass a rule like the Rooney Rule. Theoretically, I should, as an owner, figure out my checklist of what I want, explore the whole landscape, interview two or three minority coaches who have that, make up my mind and hire the best person. That’s how it should operate, but it doesn’t operate that way. How do you legislate doing the right thing? That’s the tough part. No matter what you come up with, if people don’t embrace it and do it in the spirit that it’s meant, it’s not going to work anyway.”