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Monday, April 6, 2009
State of Oregon considers a Rooney rule

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

The Oregon Legislature is considering instituting a "Rooney Rule," which would require the state's public universities to interview at least one minority candidate when there's a football head coaching vacancy.

Ken Goe, the respected college sports writer for The Oregonian, wrote about it on his blog, supporting the effort. He also noted that "the last time I wrote about this, I was surprised at the visceral reaction my opinion provoked."

First, I agree with Ken. This is a good thing.

Second, I'm shocked that Ken is telling us he's surprised by the reaction.

(See the comments section under his story and links for a taste).

You can quibble about whether a Rooney Rule is effective, though that's an argument you'd lose because it is -- see the Super Bowl champions.

Or you can shrug your shoulders.

But if the notion offends you and makes you angry then perhaps you need to ask yourself where those feelings come from. No. Where they really come from.

I've never met anyone -- ANYONE -- who knows about the inner-workings of big-time football schools who doesn't believe the process of hiring a head football coach is stacked against minority candidates.

When I tell you it is, I'm not saying, "My opinion is the process is stacked against minority candidates."

It's not an opinion.

I know this sounds dogmatic. But I get weary of folks acting like this is a debate with two sides -- or at least two sides grounded in reality and guided by a moral compass.

A Rooney Rule doesn't say a school has to hire a minority. It only requires an interview. An opportunity.

I've talked to more than a few black assistant coaches about this through the years. When asked if they'd be bothered by the specter of a token interview, nearly all said, "Hell no!'

Why?

Well, would you turn down an interview for your dream job, even if you knew you were the longest of shots?

Hell no.

You'd go in there full of bravado and prepared to the hilt and you'd knock the freaking interview out of the park.

Which is why all these black guys who continually get passed over want an opportunity to do.

Nothing is more American than that.