NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had to have known he would face questions about the league’s head-coach hiring practices in light of Brian Flores’ class-action lawsuit alleging racial discrimination.
Even without Flores’ lawsuit, Goodell likely would’ve had to address the continued lack of minority hiring when nine head-coach positions were open and only two of them went to people of color. New Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel is biracial and the Texans hired Lovie Smith under what could be viewed as questionable circumstances with increased scrutiny over hiring Black coaches.
But the issue is at the forefront of concerns the NFL needs to deal with, so Goodell had to confront the league’s lack of diversity in hiring during his “State of the NFL” press conference on Wednesday. Posing questions on the matter was NFL Network’s Jim Trotter. (The call is coming from inside the house, Rog!)
Video of the exchange was aired on NFL Total Access, which you can see below:
Trotter began by pointing out that 24 of the NFL’s 32 franchises have either had one Black head coach or no Black head coaches. He named the 13 teams that have never hired a Black head coach, then mentioned that the league has never had a majority Black owner and only one Black team president. Seven general managers are Black, five hired in the past 12 months. And now, three Black head coaches, two hired after the Flores lawsuit.
“When we look at the league office, of the top 11 executives, there are only two people of color,” said Trotter. “When we look at NFL Media Group, where I work, there is not one Black person at the senior level in the newsroom who makes decisions about a league whose player population is 70 percent Black.”
“So as a member of the Media Group and as a Black man, I ask why does the NFL and its owners have such a difficult time at the highest levels hiring Black people into decision-making positions?”
Goodell gave what most would view as an evasive answer, saying the league believes in diversity but needs to look at its policies and procedures, and needs to do a better job.
Soon thereafter, Trotter appeared on San Francisco’s Damon & Ratto and talked about putting Goodell on the spot, but not getting a satisfactory answer.
“The thing that was fascinating to me today is when Roger said that no topic has dominated or created more discussion among the owners over the last four to five years than this diversity issue,” Trotter said.
“I’m listening to that and I’m saying, ‘Well, doesn’t that tell you then that you guys aren’t getting it right?’ Here we are, five years later, and we’re still talking about the same thing and the numbers are not actually increasing, but regressing.”
Trotter went on to express his frustration that team owners who haven’t hired Black coaches are on the league’s diversity and social justice committees. Yet when they have head-coach openings, they’re not hiring minorities for those positions.
“I’m at a loss for words here because it truly is so frustrating and so exhausting, and just so unfair to these men who, all they want is an equal opportunity,” said Trotter.
Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP
“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”
Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.
One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.
“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”
More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”
Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”
An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.
“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.
“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.
Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”
Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road
“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”
When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.
“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.
No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.
Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.
On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.
“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”
If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.
Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”
Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.
On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.
This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”
McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.
“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”