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Is NFL media taking too harsh a stance against Mark Davis and Raiders with regard to the Rooney Rule?

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NFL: Oakland Raiders-Jon Gruden Press Conference Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

It has now been two weeks since Jon Gruden was officially brought in to be the head coach of the Oakland Raiders yet the talk of how Mark Davis violated the Rooney Rule has not calmed down.

Despite the NFL ruling in favor of the Raiders, many of the NFL media want to penalize Davis for getting what he wanted, Gruden. But who is right in this situation? What else could Oakland have done?

In favor of the Raiders

If Davis didn’t go to Gruden before Jack Del Rio was fired and didn’t get a verbal agreement, then that would have been a stupid move. If Davis fired Del Rio, then couldn’t hire Gruden, the entire NFL world would be laughing in Davis’ face.

Moreover, Davis has been trashed during his entire stint as an owner considering he runs a franchise with one of the worst stadiums and lowest revenue with only one winning season. But when he finally makes a sound business move to land the coach of his dreams who can take the Raiders to the promise land, he is battered for failing to follow the Rooney Rule.

In this instance the Rooney Rule could have inhibited Oakland from making a great football hire. Firing Del Rio doesn’t make sense unless there is someone waiting in the wings who is obviously better.

Not to mention, the Raiders have been at the forefront of social change. They hired the first women CEO Amy Trask, hired Hue Jackson, Tom Flores, Art Shell twice and Reggie McKenzie as the general manager. There is no history of a decision being made based on race and that was definitely not the case with Gruden.

The franchise’s history doesn’t excuse Oakland from being penalized, but it shows that the intentions of the organization have always been in line with the spirit of the purpose behind the Rooney Rule’s existence.

The rule is in place for a reason. It can help minorities get discovered through the attention that might come with an interview and to give the candidates valuable experience interviewing for a head coaching job they might not otherwise have gotten.

Yes, it is a rule that should technically be followed. But the Raiders did technically follow the rule since McKenzie interviewed former tight ends coach Bobby Johnson and USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin who, after the interview, received an extension.

In opposition of the Raiders

The Undefeated’s Jason Reid wrote in opposition of the NFL’s decision to not penalize the Raiders as he believes this marks the beginning of the end for the Rooney Rule. Reid points to the issue is that Davis, at the press conference event, detailed how he violated the rule when he said Gruden was all-in after their initial meeting on Christmas Eve. It was only days later that ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported rumors of Davis preparing an offer.

Instead, the NFL wants owners to come in with an open mind before they label any candidate their guy and begin discussing a contract.

Reid also explained the precedent the Gruden hiring sets for the rest of the league being able to ignore the rules, which is fair since a rule is a rule and must be followed. In comparison, the league did fine the Detroit Lions $200,000 for failure to comply with the Rooney Rule in 2003.

Members of the Fritz Pollard Alliance — a group that promotes diversity and job equality in the NFL — believe the league acted too quickly and that the facts point against how the league ruled. The group also wants Davis to step forward and admit that he violated the Rooney Rule.

My two cents

Look around the league, currently and in the past, and see how many other hires were going to happen before it ever officially took place.

Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels are in line to be hired by the Lions and Indianapolis Colts, respectively. The New York Giants had their eye on Pat Shurmer as their new head coach for a while. But maybe it didn’t leak since Shurmer was not a former ESPN employee.

The minority interviews that those organizations conducted could be considered a sham, but since the timing is different and it is not a coach that has been rumored to be coming for years, the hire is perceived in an alternative light.

In my opinion, the NFL knows that the rule is for show and that there has to have been countless of other interviews that were pointless just to fulfill the Rooney Rule and the issue lies with the way the Rooney Rule is structured, not with the Raiders specifically.

Raider Nation, I want to hear your opinion on the matter. Does the Rooney Rule work? Should Oakland be penalized for the way they hired Gruden? Let us know.


Do the Raiders deserve criticism for their handling of the Rooney Rule?

This poll is closed

  • 96%
    No - the issue lies with the rule not the Raiders
    (1469 votes)
  • 3%
    Yes - a rule is made to be followed
    (47 votes)
1516 votes total Vote Now