'Just generic decency': Biden slams NFL's lack of Black coaches ahead of Super Bowl LVI

Biden slams NFL's lack of diversity at the management level, notes 'league is made up of so many athletes of color'


                            'Just generic decency': Biden slams NFL's lack of Black coaches ahead of Super Bowl LVI
Joe Biden answers questions during a news conference in the East Room of the White House on January 19, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Ahead of Super Bowl LVI, President Joe Biden had some harsh words for the league, slamming its lack of Black coaches. The president called it 'some just generic decency,' for more teams to use Black coaches, especially when colored athletes make up a large percentage of the players. Biden made the comments to NBC's Lester Holt which aired on February 13, 2022.

The president didn't get into details about the controversy, but his comments are likely to provide some relief for Brian Flores, the former Miami Dolphins head coach. It also puts the controversy firmly in the spotlight, hours before the Super Bowl was due to begin. Notably, the NFL has only two Black coaches currently - Mike Tomlin with the Steelers and Anthony Lynn with the Chargers. In contrast, 71% of players are people of color. 

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Flores recently sued the NFL after claiming he was being interviewed by teams only to comply with the 'Rooney Rule', even after some teams had settled on their coaches. The shocking scandal has put additional pressure on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who acknowledged the issue and admitted the league "haven't lived up" to its promises.

Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins takes the field against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium on January 09, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Mark Brown/Getty Images)

 

Biden weighs in

Speaking to Holt about a variety of things, the president used the interview to attack the NFL's coaching issue. "The whole idea that a league that is made up of so many athletes of color, as well as so diverse, that there’s not enough African American qualified coaches 'to manage these NFL teams,' it just seems to me that it’s a standard that they'd want to live up to," Biden said. He added, "It’s not a requirement of law, but it’s a requirement, I think, of just some generic decency.”

When Holt asked if the NFL should be held to a higher standard, Biden responded, "I think it should be held to a reasonable standard," but did not say what he thought was "reasonable." He also noted that the league has not "lived up to what they committed to and lived up to being open about hiring more minorities to run teams." That echoed Goodall's own statement on the matter, days earlier. 



 

 

That's all he said about the issue, but it appeared to be enough. Shortly before the Super Bowl kicked off, Biden's comments seemed to be the talk of social media, as fans debated the president's words.

'What happened to qualifications?'

"Someone tell Biden 60% of NFL players are black," one user hit back. Another trolled, ""...generic decency.." would be to take the teams rosters from 70% black down to 12% black, which is their % in the general population." A third opined, "He has us on the brink of war, and this is what he’s worried about?!?!" Another slammed, "What happened to qualifications other than just race?"



 



 



 



 

 

At the heart of the controversy is the league's 'Rooney Rule' that mandates teams interview minority candidates for key roles such as a coach. In his lawsuit, Flores has argued that he was subject to interviews simply so teams can say they complied with the rule, even though he had no shot at the job. He particularly called out the New York Giants and Denver Broncos in his suit. 

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