The NFL will “look into” the Raiders for a potential violation of the Rooney Rule, a league spokesman said via email on Thursday.
The Fritz Pollard Alliance, a group promoting minority hirings in the NFL, called Wednesday for the NFL to investigate the Raiders after owner Mark Davis’ comments Tuesday led the group to believe Davis may have violated the rule in hiring Jon Gruden as head coach.
The rule requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coach and general manager openings. Davis said Tuesday at Gruden’s introduction that he felt Gruden was “all in” on becoming Oakland’s head coach when the two met in Philadelphia on Dec. 24.
Gruden called the Raiders’ game in Philadelphia the next day for ESPN.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said during Gruden’s introductory press conference that the team satisfied the Rooney Rule by interviewing Raiders tight ends coach Bobby Johnson and USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin.
On Wednesday, the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s counsel issued the following statement:
“We are deeply concerned by reports that the Oakland Raiders’ owner, Mark Davis, came to an agreement with Jon Gruden about him becoming the Raiders’ next head coach before interviewing any candidates of color,” the statement said. “If so, the club violated the Rooney Rule, which was instituted by the NFL in 2003 and requires teams to interview at least one candidate of color for open head coaching and general manager positions.
“As soon as we learned of the reports, we formally requested that the NFL thoroughly investigate the matter to conclusively determine whether the Rooney Rule was violated — and if it was violated, to impose an appropriate punishment.”
The meeting between Davis and Gruden happened exactly one week before Davis fired Jack Del Rio as head coach following Oakland’s 30-10 loss to the Chargers.
If the league finds the Raiders violated the Rooney Rule, they may be subject to a hefty fine.