NFL rules apply to all 32 teams. Compensatory draft selection rules are not exclusive to the San Francisco 49ers. They have received additional picks because they assembled a staff and front office that are not exclusively white men.
Those hires were not mere facades either. DeMeco Ryans rose through the 49ers coaching ranks from defensive quality control assistant to defensive coordinator. Last year, he was signed by the team with which he won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award as a player, Houston Texans, to be his head coach. Under NFL rules, teams whose minority members of the coaching staff or front office are hired by another team receive compensatory draft picks in exchange.
During the 2023 offseason, the 49ers lost both Ryans and director of player personnel Ran Carthon. As a result, the 49ers received additional third-round picks for three consecutive drafts. ESPN’s Seth Wickersham’s profile of Kyle Shanahan was published on wednesday. In it, Wickersham wrote that some of the team’s owners are unhappy with the 49ers receiving so many additional picks.
Diversity, equity and inclusion have once again “tainted” the United States. How dare the NFL reward the 49ers for hiring people of different ethnicities? The front office and the guys with the headsets have been mostly white for decades. Now comes Kamala Harris and her Obama phones contaminating the NFL.
This rule encouraging minority hiring in the NFL was made because teams did not see the need to diversify the coaching or front office ranks, and the league has been criticized for not doing so for decades. Richard Pryor joked about it in his comedy program in the 1970s. A team was rewarded for doing what it was supposed to do, and instead of taking a hint, some NFL team owners got angry.
If only the league hadn’t been so poor in its hiring practices that Brian Flores filed a lawsuit that disrupted a potential Tom Brady/Sean Payton takeover of the league. Miami DolphinsThese incentives to try to ensure that all potential candidates are seriously considered for vacancies would not be necessary.
The 49ers are doing what they’re supposed to do. Employers are supposed to conduct job searches that go beyond alumni circles and golf clubs. A narrow focus in hiring should always be discouraged. One of the few things the league office has done under Roger Goodell is advance the Rooney Rule. The look of the front offices and coaching staff wasn’t changing fast enough, so incentives were added.
Other owners can hire Ned York, John Lynch, Shanahan and Goodell if they want. But if they had the guts, they would put their name to their displeasure over rules that reward teams for hiring and developing strong minority employees.
But again, the rules apply to all teams. If owners feel they are being deprived of compensatory picks, they can always simply develop minority talent for positions that don’t require pads. The 49ers led by example. Instead of complaining anonymously, give them a call and find out how to improve your franchise and get third-round picks for doing it.