Updated Feb 5, 2022 - Sports

NFL commissioner calls coaching diversity results “unacceptable"

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Photo: Rich Graessle/PPI/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that diversity among the league's head coaches has been "unacceptable" despite the policies and programs put in place to enact change, according to a league-wide memo he sent and was obtained by ESPN.

Driving the news: Goodell's memo comes in the wake of former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores suing the NFL, Dolphins and New York Giants for "racial discrimination."

  • The NFL denied the allegations of racial discrimination, saying Flores' claims were "without merit." The Dolphins and Giants denied the allegations as well.

What they're saying: Goodell praised the significant efforts made to promote diversity but admitted that "particularly with respect to head coaches, the results have been unacceptable."

  • "We will reevaluate and examine all policies, guidelines and initiatives relating to diversity, equity and inclusion, including as they relate to gender," Goodell said.
  • The league will also bring in outside experts as well as solicit input from "current and former players and coaches, advocates and other authorities in this area."
  • "Our goal is simple: make our efforts and those of the clubs more effective so that real and tangible results will be achieved," he added.

Flores' lawyers said in a statement that they suspect Goodell's memo of being "more of a public relations ploy than real commitment to change."

  • "For too many years, the NFL has hid behind the cover of foundations that were supposed to protect the rights of Black players and coaches, all while letting systemic racial bias fester in its front offices," Douglas H. Wigdor and John Elefterakis said.
  • "The NFL is now rolling out the same playbook yet again and that is precisely why this lawsuit was filed."
  • They noted that the league had yet to reach out to Flores since he filed the suit.

By the numbers: There is currently only one Black head coach in the NFL, although there still are a few open positions.

Go Deeper: NFL sued for racial discrimination

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the statement from Flores' attorneys.

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