Melissa Harris-Perry | February 03, 2013
second quarterback ever to have a winning super bowl . williams paved the way for dozens of quarterbacks making the question of whether black players can make the position a moot point. whether or not black folks can coach the team, that, after all these years seems to be an open question . two african-american head coaches were in the super bowl six years ago. one of them, lovie smith of the chicago bears was fired after his team barely made the playoffs. smith, along with every other coach of color who interviewed was not hired. the stat is curious given the rooney rule was developed. the teams have to interview a coach of color. an attorney who fought for the creation is here. he's co-founder and council to the alliance and co-author of "black coaches in the football league ." dave and roman and dr. gary small. i want to come to you first.
>> first, explain what the rooney rule is. it's actually one of my favorite examples of what i think is affirmative action that works and ought to be implemented in a lot of different systems.
>> i very much appreciate being here, melissa. i like the jersey. we are proud of the success of the last ten years. we started this with the late john yn yny cochran. over a dozen african-american or coaches of color have been selected over the last ten years. there's been quite a bit of success. as you noted, the success on the field is something we are tremendously proud of. the last seven years starting with lovie smith and tony dungy being head coaches followed every year since there. there's been at least one african-american head coach. one of the most respected gms leading the way with the baltimore ravens .
>> does the success of the coaches or general managers of color suggest they are held to a higher standard because once they are in there, they are clearly performing at a high level ?
>> there's always been a double standard . there's a double standard in corporate america . if you look at madison avenue , financial services , big law firms , there's a double standard . that was the point of the report we released ten years ago. that doesn't mean there aren't solutions. the reason why we remain optimist optimistic, we are disappointed, but not discouraged. we gathered and are saying we are going to stay on the battlefield. we are going to regroup, redesign the game plan and come back stronger. we have some new ideas we think are going to make it better going forwards.
>> let me ask you about that. we have been spending the past half hour talking about the problems in the game for players on the field. now i'm saying what i would like to do is incorporate more people of color into the game that we may be seeing declining, if in fact, we have these medical circumstances. how do we balance those two things?
>> i mean it's a great game. everyone, this is america's game. it's a game that we are all passionate about. one of the reasons we are fighting so hard to create equal opportunity in this game is because of the influence on america's young people . ceos come and go with ibm, dell. what happens for a head coach in this country affects millions of people, their fans and particularly has an impact on young people . it's one of the reasons we have been so motivated to bring about change here. we want them to feel if they work hard and are determined the sky is the limit on what they do. they can go in any field they want to pursue. if they are in this sport or a former player in the sport. we want fair compensation until the sport.
>> i wanted to take a moment and listen to the commissioner on this issue. i'm interested to find out from you how responsive you think the commissioner has been. listen.