Why Jerry Should Still Follow The Rooney Rule

Jerry Jones is expected to announce the new Cowboys head coach Wednesday, and there’s not a soul in the world who thinks he’s going to choose anyone not named Jason Garrett for the gig.

It’s been a foregone conclusion for some time now, and the only reason the Double J couldn’t officially hire Garrett sooner was because of the Rooney Rule mandating that NFL owners interview at least one minority candidate before hiring a new football coach. So Jerry interviewed receivers coach Ray Sherman for the top spot, and ESPN indicated yesterday that Jones would also talk to Packers assistant Winston Moss about the gig, possibly because the NFL doesn’t consider Sherman to be a Rooney Rule candidate.

It’s easy to say this whole thing is a sham, and that the Rooney Rule has outlived its usefulness, and that it’s demeaning to black coaches to have them be subject to token interviews merely as a quota filler. If the Cowboys want to hire Jason Garrett, why not just let them hire Garrett and be done with it?

Well, that’s the whole point of the Rooney Rule. The point is to keep owners from having tunnel vision when comes to hiring coaches. If the Rooney Rule is a sham, it’s because teams that don’t take their minority candidates seriously are MAKING it a sham, not because of the rule itself. The spirit of the policy is to force owners to have an open mind and actually entertain the notion of minority coach. And if the owner treats it like a throwaway interview, then he’ll be subject to open scrutiny for clearly doing so.

In a perfect world we wouldn’t need the Rooney Rule, but it’s still something of a necessary evil in world where the likes of Wade Phillips and Norv Turner can score second and third gigs hosting teams. We know Jerry Jones has his heart set on Jason Garrett, and justifiably so. But sometimes, you need another voice in the room before you make that final judgment.

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