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ASHBURN VA - JUNE 15: Former Washington Team quarterback Doug Williams was named Senior Vice President of Player Personnel. Photos made at Washington Team Park in Ashburn VA, June 15, 2017. (Photo by John McDonnell / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
ASHBURN VA - JUNE 15: Former Washington Football Team quarterback Doug Williams was named Senior Vice President of Player Personnel. Photos made Ashburn VA, June 15, 2017. (Photo by John McDonnell / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

GSM Live: How the NFL Moves Forward

Why this matters

The NFL Rooney Rule intended to give opportunities to coaches of color, but data shows that after nearly 20 years, the impact may not be as significant as we'd hoped.

Monthly Issue How the NFL Moves Forward

This event took place on 2/5/2021. For an article recap and access to the full episode, visit here. To stay up to date on upcoming events, sign up for our newsletter.

From the Global Sport Institute Research Lab comes an in-depth look at the hiring and firing trends within the National Football League's head coaching positions by race since the inception of the Rooney Rule in 2003. This new data examines the pipeline to head coach and sheds light on the real impact the Rooney Rule has had for coaches of color in the highest levels of sport.

On the next Global Sport Matters Live we talk with the experts who have studied and experienced the Rooney Rule to examine how the NFL moves forward.

Check out the newly released and expanded data:

Field Studies: NFL Head Coach Hiring and Pathways in the Rooney Rule Era

Joining the Discussion:

Doug Williams | Senior Vice President of Player Development with the Washington Football Team, Former Quarterback & Super Bowl XXII Champion

Doug Williams enters his first season as senior advisor to Washington Football Team president Jason Wright in 2021. Williams spent last season as Washington's senior vice president of player development. In that role, one of the most celebrated athletes in franchise history helped lead and guide the efforts of the team's player development department. Williams, a member of the 80 Greatest Washington players and franchise's Ring of Fame, played with the team from 1986-89 and led Washington to a Super Bowl XXII title, which was a 42-10 rout of the Denver Broncos. Full bio link

Rod Graves | Executive Director at Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation & Former Senior Vice President of Football Administration for the New York Jets

Rod Graves is the Executive Director of the Fritz Pollard Alliance. He joined the FPA after spending 37 years with the National Football League. His experience includes serving in a number of executive positions in the NFL including Senior Vice President Football Administration at the National Football League and General Manager of the Arizona Cardinals. Graves’ primary duties as Executive Director will be to set organizational and policy initiatives, to oversee the development of programs that support the mission of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, to guide fundraising and sponsorship efforts, to govern day-to-day operations, set strategic objectives, to ensure the viability of the FPA, and to promote the brand and good-will of the Fritz Pollard Alliance. Full bio link

N. Jeremi Duru | Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law

Professor N. Jeremi Duru teaches sports law, civil procedure, and employment discrimination, and he is among the nation’s foremost sports law authorities. He is a co-author of one of the field’s premier casebooks, Sports Law and Regulation: Cases and Materials (5th edition) (Wolters Kluwer), as well as one of the field’s premier explorations of sports agency, The Business of Sports Agents (3rd edition) (U. of Penn Press). In addition, he is the sole author of Advancing the Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for Equal Coaching Opportunity in the NFL (Oxford University Press), which examines the NFL’s movement toward increased equality of opportunity for coaches and front office personnel.

Professor Duru is active in the national sports law community, serving as a member of the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s Anti-Doping Review Board, the NCAA’s Committees on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sport, and the National Sports Law Institute’s Board of Advisors. He also frequently lectures and consults abroad. Among other international engagements, he has taught and studied on a Fulbright Fellowship at Faculdades Integradas Helio Alonso in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has served as a visiting professor at the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia and the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, China. In addition, he has served as a lecturer in the Union of European Football Association’s Executive Masters Program for International Players. Full bio link

Esé Ighedosa, Esq. | President - House of Athlete

Esé Ighedosa, Esq. is the President of House of Athlete, a recently launched lifestyle wellness brand, overseeing an exciting portfolio of businesses including House of Athlete Apparel, House of Athlete Supplements, House of Athlete Fitness Facilities, and House3 Studio production company. Ighedosa grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, before attending Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia where she was a standout volleyball player. In 2009, she graduated with an honors degree in political science. She continued her education at Florida A&M University College of Law. Following her tenure with NFL Films, Ighedosa shifted within the NFL to work in legal and business affairs at the NFL League Office in New York City.  There, she co-founded and co-chaired the Black Engagement Network (BEN), a groundbreaking employee resource group that looks to enhance the NFL’s engagement of its Black employees and the diverse community at large. After nearly five years with the NFL and NFL Films, Ighedosa relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina, where she served as Associate Counsel for the Carolina Panthers and Tepper Sports and Entertainment. In addition to overseeing various legal matters, she  became a trusted advisor to current and former Panthers players on social justice and community engagement by leading the team's Player Impact Committee.

Ray Anderson | Vice President of University Athletics at Arizona State University

Ray Anderson was named Arizona State University’s Vice President for University Athletics and Athletics Director on Jan. 9, 2014, and has quickly redefined the collegiate athletics landscape over the course of his tenure at ASU.

As the world was struck with the global pandemic in 2020, thus ending NCAA seasons early in March, Sun Devil Athletics was at the brink of yet another strong finish to the athletic season under Ray Anderson's leadership after continuously demonstrating improvement each of the previous two years. With the 2019-20 season ending just prior to winter championships, the 2018-19 athletic season continues to be the best so far under Anderson’s leadership, as Sun Devil Athletics finished 19th in the IMG Learfield Directors’ Cup Standings for the university’s first top-20 finish since 2012-13. The successful athletic season, in addition to initiatives and impacts away from the fields of play, led to Anderson being named a finalist for the Sports Business Journal's Athletic Director of the Year in 2019. Anderson was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 25 Most Influential Minorities in Sports in February 2016, noting that he had “helped position the Sun Devils as one of the most innovative brands in college sports.” He received an extension in the spring of 2018 through 2022. Full bio link

Rachel Lofton | Co-author of Global Sport Institute Field Study: An 18-Season Snapshot of NFL Coaching Hires

Rachel has her Masters in International Cooperation and Development from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and is project coordinator for research at the Global Sport Institute. Her focus is in Sport for Development. Prior to moving to Italy for her Masters, she graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in Gender Studies. Following her studies, she worked in Community Relations and Events for the Oakland Raiders and Golden State Warriors. She then transitioned into the world of entertainment where she worked at Sony Pictures Entertainment in their Worldwide Distribution Analytics group and served as the events chair on the board of OUT @ SPE, their employee business resource group.

Jim Rooney | Author of A Different Way to Win

Jim Rooney, one of Dan and Patricia Rooney’s nine children, worked alongside his father for decades.  Jim’s personal and professional view of his father’s long career comes from having assisted his father with relationships at the State Department and the White House during Dan’s time serving as Ambassador to Ireland and, also, being involved in the football enterprise and support of the Rooney Rule. In addition to being an author, Jim is a business owner, consultant, facilitator and national speaker. He is co-partner of Rooney Consulting, which assists organizations with enhancing culture, building strong teams and growing businesses. In addition, Jim founded FirstLink Research and Analytics, a world leader in building business analysis for technology transition. Full bio link

Hosted by:
Kenneth Shropshire | CEO of the Global Sport Institute and adidas Distinguished Professor of Global Sport at Arizona State University

Professor Shropshire is CEO of the Global Sport Institute and the adidas Distinguished Professor of Global Sport at Arizona State University. He took on this current leadership role following  a thirty-year career as an endowed full professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. There he was also Director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative, Professor of Africana Studies, and Academic Director of Wharton’s sports-focused executive education programs. He now holds the title of Wharton Endowed Professor Emeritus. Full bio link

Monthly Issue

How the NFL Moves Forward

18 years after the inception of the Rooney Rule, data shows a lack of forward progress when it comes to diversity at the highest levels of leadership in the NFL.

What actions are necessary to move the chains on safety, equity, and inclusion in the league?