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Friday, August 15, 2003

Nordlinger on NFL Coaching/Race Issue

The National Review has a preview of the September 1 issue up on their site, and Arlen Specter, "The Worst Republican Senator", is the cover boy. Along with the Club for Growth assault on Specter, detailed in last week's NYT mag, the National Review's efforts to eliminate him could spell the end for Specter, especially given that primary voters are more likely to be conservatives who will prefer Pat Toomey rather than moderates Specter can win over during the general election.

I also have noticed that Jay Nordlinger has an article on the ridiculous NFL hiring policy for head coaches, requiring a black candidate be interviewed for any opening, in light of the recent Detroit Lions fine (which I've railed against here and here). From his rhetoric I doubt that Nordlinger and I would agree on all racial issues, but I do support his general argument. The preview is this:

"This business of interviewing candidates of a certain color — regardless of your plans or thinking — is a tricky one. Gene Upshaw, head of the Players Association, warned of this, way back: He said that, if you mandated something like the Rooney Rule, 'it will lead to sham interviews and sham lists [of coaches].' But when Millen hired the coach of his dreams, Upshaw said that he had 'treated [the rule] almost as a nuisance.' Well, no kidding. Many commentators have scoffed at 'courtesy' interviews, and 'going through the motions,' and 'dog-'n'-pony shows' — but if they support tokenism — nay, mandate it — what else do they expect? They decry the indignity that a black coach has to suffer when he's used as a pawn in the satisfaction of a rule — but, again, what else do they expect? Teams had better interview these black candidates 'in good faith,' they say, and 'with an open mind': but how is such a mental state to be determined?"

I'm still disappointed that major sports media won't run anything remotely like this criticizing league policy. I'm not impressed when a publication like the National Review does this, given its readership--a more civil, roundtable discussion that doesn't pass judgment (more typical of sports media in recent weeks) would actually be a more courageous approach for NRO to take.