In the National Football League (NFL), in presence of an opening for a Coach, and availability of minority persons who are qualified for such an opening, a team in the NFL is required to interview available and qualified minority coaches. The policy works because a minority person can attempt to prove he qualified to be invited for interview, yet was overlooked. This rule is termed the ‘Rooney Rule’ after former Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney who was instrumental to adoption of the policy.
It is a fact that most of the players in the NFL are minorities, more specifically minorities of Black or African American descent. With so many African American families vested in the NFL because a father, brother, son, uncle, nephew, or potential catch for marriage either plays in the NFL, is employed by the NFL, or makes a living that somehow is connected to the NFL, African Americans are bound to watch football. They have too much at stake in the entire enterprise. This is not to say the average Black person does not enjoy football. This is to say even if they did not, the economics of the entire enterprise would draw them to watch.
Partly because they outnumber everyone else, and due in part to the fact that tailgating parties which transpire in tandem with watching of hits that make even the fan least prone to violence grimace and go, ‘ouch he got splayed’ from a really great hit, are a great combination, White people, men particularly love to watch football. Football simply put is one of America’s favorite pastimes. For perhaps the same reasons White people love to watch football, Asian Americans and other groups in America also tune in to football.
So then, White people love to watch football, and Black folks have a lot at stake so they watch, meaning barring some unforeseen catastrophe, regardless of whether coaches are White or Black, football remains attractive, remains a good pastime. Given the Black audience already was and is a captive audience, even if all of the coaches in the NFL were White, Black people still would watch football. In presence of this state of affairs, and from a profit perspective, a rule guaranteeing qualified Black persons interviews for open coaching positions could not have been instituted merely from a profit perspective.
Having more of Black coaches would not get more of Black people to watch football because they already are a captive audience.
Having more of Black coaches in the NFL also would not get more of White people to watch. The beauty of a jimmying of the feet that translates into a 50-yard run has nothing to do with personage of the coach. The beauty of a legitimate hit that sprawls a guy out on the football field has nothing whatsoever to do with color of the skin of the person standing on the sideline, not unless that person is not winning football games. In the NFL, when a coach is winning, no one really cares about the color of his skin.
So then, Winning Coaches in the NFL? Both White and Black. Averagely Talented Coaches? Both White and Black. Coaches that have done very horribly in the NFL? Both White and Black.
Due to the Rooney Rule, all most football fans care about today is whether a coach is winning or losing. The race card hardly ever comes up.
The beauty of the Rooney Rule is, it was spearheaded and accepted within an organization that from a profit perspective had little to gain from adoption of the policy. Yes, it made African Americans happier, but even if there was not a single Black Coach in the NFL they would have continued to watch. In presence of this realization, we conclude that the Rooney Rule was adopted because it was the right thing to do.
Which is better, that a policy is adopted because it is the right thing to do, or to be instituted merely because it is profitable?
The Rooney Rule posited that if teams were not considering qualified Black coaches because owners are White, Boosters are mostly White, and fans are mostly White, it was important to sensitize teams to the need to consciously provide qualified minorities with opportunity for proving their mettle for the job in context of the interview process.
Has the Rooney Rule worked perfectly? Perhaps not. But with the knowledge that the rule has worked, having a policy such as the Rooney Rule in place is better than situations within which organizations get away with not interviewing even one qualified minority person for an open position. How does this happen? Because much like was the case in the NFL prior to adoption of the Rooney Rule, most of the people in charge of hiring either are White or Asian, and gravitate towards replication of their own selves.
But when organizations merely replicate those who already are within the organization in context of their hiring process and in context of new hires, how exactly do they hope to innovate for arrival at a better version of the organization?
The research evidence continues to assert that diversity is beneficial for aggregate workplace performance. A quick search on the internet reveals as much. Intuitively, beneficence of diversity for performance of organizations makes sense. Much as a man’s extreme rationality, and a woman’s extreme yet professionally inspired intuition combine for facilitation of improvements to firm performance, so also diversity of race brings many different accentuated giftings and perspectives into a workplace, render a firm more profitable, more viable.
Both intuition and the research evidence indicate diversity is beneficial for performance of organizations.
But is it not ever so much better that diversity is valued merely because it is the right thing to do?