by Ray Hayes

Monday Night Football announcer Jon Gruden is back in the NFL for his second stint as the Oakland Raiders head coach. Gruden coached the team previously from 1998 – 2001 before being traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he won a Super Bowl championship. With Gruden back in Oakland, the franchise looked to move forward in a positive direction with their new coach.  Unfortunately this may be harder then first reported as rumors are swirling that the team may not have followed the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate prior to hiring a head coach. The Fritz Pollard Alliance, a diversity group that works closely with the NFL to help facilitate minority hiring, has requested the NFL to investigate whether the Raiders followed protocol prior to hiring Gruden.

Attorneys Cyrus Mehri and N. Jeremi Duru, made statements at the Alliance inquire.  “We are deeply concerned by reports that the Oakland Raiders’ owner, Mark Davis, came to an agreement with Jon Gruden about him becoming the Raiders’ next head coach before interviewing any candidates of color. If so, the Club violated the Rooney Rule, which was instituted by the NFL in 2003 and requires teams to interview at least one candidate of color for open head coaching and general manager positions.”

The Raiders have publicly stated that they in fact did comply to the Rooney Rule by interviewing Booby Johnson, who is the teams current TE coach, and Tee Martin, offensive coordinator for the University of Southern California.

According to the Denver Post, the Fritz Pollard Alliance previously stated that the Raiders did follow the Rooney Rule but now it seems as though they have changed their minds.