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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

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February 6, 2008 9:13 AM

Clarification re: Rooney Rule

Posted by Danny O'Neil

The NFL protocol of interviewing at least one minority candidate for an NFL head-coaching position has always included one provision for the elevation of a coach already on the staff. That promotion must be written into the contract. To call it an exception to the Rooney Rule is misleading because the guidelines were formed with that intent.

"First of all, we believe in the elevation or upgrading within the staff, front office and coaching," said John Wooten, president of the Fritz Pollard Alliance. "The guidelines, if there’s to be elevation or upgrading, future appointments, it has to be in writing in the contract. It can’t be word of mouth. It can’t be handshake. It has to be written into the contract when the contract is done."

The Fritz Pollard Alliance was formed in 2003, has worked with the NFL for the past few years to develop hiring guidelines for front-office positions in the league. Wooten said Wednesday morning in a phone interview he had spoken with Seahawks president Tim Ruskell, and has been assured Mora's promotion will be in writing.

"This is no different than what the Indianapolis Colts did with Jim Caldwell," Wooten said. "It does not affect us in terms of the Rooney Rule at all. It does not circumvent it because it was always written that way."

Greg Aiello, NFL spokesman, affirmed that. The Rooney Rule has always included a provision that states if the promotion of an assistant coach to become head coach then no further interviews are required. It does not matter if that is the coach's first contract with the team or an extension.

"It has to be in his current contract at the time the transition would take place," Aiello wrote in an e-mail.

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Posted by meladan

1:58 PM, Feb 07, 2008

The Rooney Rule is bogus!

The best candidate for the job should and will get the job, regardless of skin color. To MANDATE that at least one potential candidate be from a minority class is simply absurd. In fact, one could draw the logical conclusion that this is a case of officially-sanctioned reverse discrimination and is helping do nothing more than widen the perceived gap between different races and ethnicities.

If the sports world is so concerned about "equality" then the Rooney Rule should not even exist, for it creates artificial IN-equality.

Last time I checked a coach's skills, knowledge, and leadership ability are what truly matter - not the color of his skin.

Isn't it about time we graduate to the 21st century???

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