A report from NFL.com's Jim Trotter last week has former Minnesota Vikings tight end Jermaine Wiggins upset with the idea of rewarding improved draft positioning to teams that hire head coaches and executives of color.
Wiggins, who caught 186 passes for 1,659 yards and six touchdowns in three seasons with the Vikings (2004-06), told WEEI radio over the weekend that "it's stupid" that NFL owners are reportedly preparing to vote on such an idea.
"This is a joke," Wiggins said. "If we have to get to this point where we have to give incentives to teams to hire minority coaches, especially black coaches, where are we? What is this 1950? In order for you to drink or use a restaurant or a hotel, you have to make sure we fill in the quota every month, make sure we have two black customers. It’s stupid."
Trotter's report says teams that hire a minority as head coach or executive would be incentivized by receiving "improved draft slots." It goes on to say that the idea would improve draft position in the draft following the second season after a minority coach or executive, namely a general manager, is hired.
It would see that team's third-round pick advance six positions if a minority coach was hired, or 10 spots of improvement in the third round if the team hired a minority GM.
Just three of the past head coaching hires have been minorities, while only two of 32 general managers are minorities.
"The biggest problem is this: until you get people that are black in positions of power, which is general managers because I think that is the biggest problem … those are the ones hiring the coaches and if you don’t have enough of those … it’s tough for guys to hire minority coaches when there are not a lot of minority GMs or directors of player/football operations. I just think that's where it has to start. It has to start at the top," Wiggins said.
In 2003, the NFL implemented the Rooney Rule, which requires NFL teams to interview minority candidates for head coach and executive positions.