DeMaurice Smith is entering his final days as NFL Players Association executive director after 14 years in the position following the election of Lloyd Howell to succeed him.
But Smith isn’t leaving without one last battle with NFL owners.
In a 100-page paper, which Yahoo Sports obtained, Smith and Carl Lasker, a Yale law student and teaching assistant to Smith, called for the Rooney Rule to be eliminated because they believe it’s failed to serve its purpose.
“The system is broken from the inside out and outside, and any effort to affect it that didn’t obligate NFL owners to adherence or reform was doomed from the start,” Smith told Yahoo Sports.
They also viewed the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action no longer being used in private and public colleges across the country as something that could impact the NFL down the road.
There were 47 responses among the 65, and it showed 92% of them believed more transparency was needed in the hiring process for head coaches, 90% believe race plays a role in coaching hires and 90% said “federal statutes prohibiting discrimination are not observed or obeyed in hiring practices.”
“The NFL’s system is broken,” Smith and Lasker wrote. “To fix it, owners need to abandon the Rooney Rule and replace their unchecked discretion with comprehensive requirements to eliminate discrimination, ensure fairness, improve diversity and build an equitable, transparent and accountable system.”
Heading into the 2023 season, the only Black head coaches are the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Todd Bowles and the Houston Texans’ DeMeco Ryans, who was hired this offseason.