The Fritz Pollard Alliance, which had called for an investigation out of concern that Raiders owner Mark Davis came to an agreement with Gruden before the team interviewed any minority candidates, released a statement saying the National Football League made the wrong call in not penalizing Davis.
Some people might be tempted to take a year off after receiving $10.5 million not to coach. Through his remarks, it is evident that before Davis thought of interviewing minority candidates, he already knew he would hire Gruden.
The NFL bought that explanation, but the Fritz Pollard Alliance says those interviews were meaningless. One practical application could be potentially requiring teams to immediately report to the league office any interviews conducted with candidates not now employed by NFL teams.
The Raiders said they complied with the rule by interviewing Bobby Johnson, their tight ends coach, and Tee Martin, the offensive coordinator at USC. Johnson wasn't even retained as a position coach on Gruden's new staff.More news: Australian Researchers Help Develop New Blood Test For Cancer
Lastly, the FPA cited a comment Davis made on January 9 following Gruden's introductory news conference. According to the league, the Raiders fulfilled their obligation after firing Jack Del Rio on January 1.
"We believe the facts overwhelmingly point in the other direction", the alliance said in a statement obtained by the NFL Network.
The increased scrutiny on this specific hiring stems from statements made by Raiders owner Mark Davis which stated he was "all in" on Jon Gruden before interviewing any candidates of color. Davis crossed the line, and we are disappointed in the League's decision. "We have called for meetings with the League to ensure that a process like this never happens again".
The NFL fined then-Lions general manager Matt Millen $200,000 in 2003 after violating the rule in hiring Steve Mariucci as head coach. The Rooney Rule has been instrumental in helping African-Americans obtain jobs in management positions in the National Football League and many will be watching to see how the National Football League interprets this hiring due to it's possible ramifications. Former Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, however, was apparently eager to get back to coaching for the 2018 season.
This conversation helped lead to Del Rio's firing and some newfound stability.