THOUSANDS – Kevin O’Connell’s reported hiring as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings can be seen as part of the NFL’s problem with its lack of diversity in positions of power.
But the Rams’ offensive coordinator says he wants to be part of the solution.
All in all, O’Connell is committed to using his new role with the Vikings to help create more opportunities for minority coaches to receive a promotion.
“If that opportunity (with the Vikings) ending is something I have to do, then it’s very, very important to me,” O’Connell, who is white, said Friday on Zoom during a press conference. nine days before the Rams face the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium.
“I have been fortunate enough to speak to some really great teams over the past few weeks (about opening head coach), and each time it has been (I) made it very clear that it is going to be a big one. O’Connell’s key piece is about expanding diversity.
O’Connell said “diverse coaches” are some of the best he’s worked with and deserve to be in the offensive and defensive coordinator jobs that have served as a stepping stone to the job. head training.
“I think it’s really important that the individuals in our league who are coaching at such a high level deserve those opportunities,” O’Connell said, “and deserve the chance.” Not only interviewing but getting those positions and continuing to advance, because it’s the best thing for our league. ”
Following appearances by Brian Flores by the Miami Dolphins and David Culley by the Houston Texans, the NFL had a black head coach on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin team, and two other non-white coaches on the Washington Commanders team. ‘ Ron Rivera and New Robert Saleh of the York Jets.
Flores filed a lawsuit against the federation and several teams this week, alleging racism as he searches for a new head coach job this year.
All five official head coach positions filled so far this season have gone to white coaches.
That doesn’t include O’Connell’s hiring to replace Mike Zimmer in Minnesota, a move that is likely to become official once his responsibilities with the Rams end with the February 13 Super Bowl. O ‘Connell will be the fourth former member of the Rams’ Sean McVay team to receive the head coach position, after the Bengals’ Zac Taylor, Chargers’ Brandon Staley and Green Bay Packers’ Matt LaFleur. Each of them is white.
A former San Diego State quarterback and NFL reserve, O’Connell, 36, served as offensive coordinator with Washington for one season and the Rams for two.
Among the candidates he appears to have beaten for the Vikings job is Raheem Morris, 45, the Rams’ defensive coordinator who has served as head coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (goes 10-6. in 2010 but 17-31 overall) and interim head coach for part of 2020 with the Atlanta Falcons (going 4-7 after Dan Quinn lost 0-5).
Morris reacted to Flores’ lawsuit by saying “it’s unfortunate that we even have to talk about this.”
“It’s clear that we lack diversity in hiring in the National Football League,” Morris said on Friday. “That’s obvious.”
But he said he didn’t notice discrimination when he interviewed for jobs with the Denver Broncos in 2009 and the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020, as well as the Bucs in 2009, Falcons in 2021 and Vikings both live and on Zoom last month.
“I really feel like the people in all of those organizations have done a great job of treating me,” Morris said. “But that doesn’t mean it works for everyone, and that doesn’t mean everyone is treated the same way.
“I just feel bad because it happened to Flo (Flores). I don’t discredit anything he says, because he’s a man of honor, as he said, a man of bravery. ”
Morris praised Rams owner Stan Kroenke, chief executive officer Kevin Demoff, general manager Les Snead and McVay for hiring minorities and women in coaching and executive positions. Of the 20 assistant coaches listed on the Rams’ website, 10 are black. They include Thomas Brown, the assistant head coach and the running back coach.
“I think it’s something that the NFL wants to be intentional about,” McVay said Thursday, “to continue to diversify this staff, especially in some of these leadership roles with the opportunity being so overwhelming. little right now.”
Demoff pointed out with pride this week about the “progressive” elements of the Rams’ history, such as the signings of Kenny Washington and Woody Strode to break the color line of professional football in 1946. , made James Harris the first black player to open a season starting as a quarterback in 1975 , made Michael Sam the first openly gay player initiated by the NFL in 2014 and brought Sophie Harlan became the NFL team’s highest-ranking female executive when she became the Rams’ football executive in 2020.
“I think that’s one of the ways I want people to see our brand,” Demoff said.
The Rams tight finisher Tyler Higbee (knee) and offensive lineman Joe Noteboom (chest) sat out Friday’s episode, and the team’s injury report said they would be suspected of playing in the Super Bowl if the game take place this Sunday instead of next week. Backward Cam Akers (shoulder), wide Van Jefferson (knee), Andrew Whitworth (quad) and corner back Jalen Ramsey (shoulder) are on the suspect list.
https://www.sbsun.com/2022/02/04/nfls-coaching-diversity-issues-have-rams-attention/ NFL Coaching Diversity Issues Get The Rams’ Attention – San Bernardino Sun