Statement by Rod Graves, Executive Director, Fitz Pollard Alliance on the Firing of Jay Gruden as Head Coach of the Washington Redskins

“This week I learned the Washington Redskins front office made the decision to release Jay Gruden as head coach. As Executive Director of Fitz Pollard Alliance (FPA), my primary role is to assist the NFL, team owners and senior management in developing and promoting organizational diversity. That said, I urge Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and team president, Brue Allen to “cast a wider net” during their interview process and seriously consider hiring a minority candidate to fill the now vacant head coach position.

For more than 15 years, the Fitz Pollard Alliance has been the leading advocate in calling for greater diversity and inclusion in NFL team front-offices, coaching and scouting staff. Guided by the fundamental principles of the Rooney Rule, we believe the League, individual teams, players and most importantly the fans, will benefit from promoting and practicing core values related to leadership diversity, both on and off the field.

There is no doubt progress has been made since the 2002 groundbreaking report, Black Coaches in the NFL: Superior Performance, Inferior Opportunities, which revealed the often-unattainable standards black coaches are held to compared to their white counterparts.

While we applaud the commitment to diversity from a handful of NFL teams over the years, the fact is, there’s still a great deal more that can be done. We hope the Washington Redskins will lead the way.”

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