The Guardian has reported that the Premier League has refused to adopt even a voluntary version of the NFL’s so-called “Rooney Rule”, whereby at least one minority candidate must be interviewed for every open coaching position. This is sad because talented and smart guys like Clarence Seedorf often get overlooked or pushed out the door too early to make way for the Pippo Inzaghis of the world.
One thing that also bugs me about this non-decision, though, is the circular justification. But I’m also annoyed by a certain acronym used in this debate.
B.L.A.M.E. is to blame for the lack of a Rooney Rule. Basically, the Premier League says there’s not enough “top-level” Black (“Latin” as added by me) Asian Minority & Ethnic manager candidates for them to effectively implement the rule. Let’s just forget Manuel Pellegrini, the delightful Chilean we all know and love, and ask: how many non-Europeans coach in the Premier League? And the Championship? Of the Europeans, how many are not from England or Scotland? Yeah, the number is kinda low, right.
So, if you look at a snapshot of possible candidates, yes, the BLAME crew’s talent pool is pitifully low. But that’s the beauty and simplicity of prejudice: BLAME folks don’t get a foot in the door and can’t even get a whiff of a smell of a half-chance, so they disappear into the woodworks. This is so odd because so many former players are now managers, and there’s a pretty outstanding quantity of former players who are Black, Latin, and minority and ethnic. This is how you know there’s a problem: former white European players don’t think twice about maybe becoming a coach or at least trying. And the BLAME crew? The opposite it seems.
The Rooney Rule worked in the NFL (success is relative and it’s still a work-in-progress) because suddenly a beacon of hope shined for all to see. Most importantly, just getting an interview and doing an interview is a process that teaches the applicant as much as the interviewer. Otherwise schools would not have career services, right? And students would not obsess and prepare for fall recruitment. And I would not love the Mourinho articles about how he wows over football owners with really detailed PowerPoints.
So, like, yeah, that aren’t a lot of great BLAME candidates, but the lack of a Rooney Rule is to blame. The current status quo is justifying itself by…looking at the current status quo. That’s not how change happens. That’s solipsistic stasis.
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