Advancing the Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for by N. Jeremi Duru

By N. Jeremi Duru

Following the NFL's desegregation in 1946, possibilities turned more and more abundant for African American players--but no longer African American coaches. even supposing significant League Baseball and the NBA made growth during this regard through the years, the NFL's head coaches have been virtually completely white up until eventually the mid-1990s. Advancing the Ball chronicles the crusade of former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman John Wooten to correct this fallacious and undo many years of discriminatory head trainer hiring practices--an initiative that eventually bore fruit whilst he joined forces with legal professionals Cyrus Mehri and Johnnie Cochran. including a number of allies, the triumvirate galvanized the NFL's African American assistant coaches to face jointly for equivalent chance and confident the league to enact the "Rooney Rule," which stipulates that each staff needs to interview not less than one minority candidate while looking for a brand new head trainer. In doing so, they spurred a circulate that may considerably influence the NFL and, probably, the state. that includes an impassioned foreword by means of trainer Tony Dungy, Advancing the Ball deals an eye-opening, first-hand examine how a couple of dedicated members initiated a sea swap in America's hottest activity and further a rare new bankruptcy to the civil rights tale.

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Additional info for Advancing the Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for Equal Coaching Opportunity in the NFL

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But Harper had no intention of slinking meekly away, and he responded in a manner almost unthinkable at the time for an African American sports professional: he brought legal action. 38 Advancing the Ball Before launching a Title VII claim in federal court, a complainant must file a charge of discrimination with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is precisely what Harper did. He charged the Red Sox with racial discrimination as well as with retaliatory termination and detailed the team’s decades-long relationship with the Elks Club, the discriminatory pass distribution, the failed promise to cease such distribution, and his post-article shunning.

In addition, September 30 happened to be a Monday night, and the Ravens were hosting the Denver Broncos in the League’s most celebrated weekly spectacle, Monday Night Football. Since 1970, when the NFL began scheduling one game a week on Monday night, it had become a premier contest. For the most part, the NFL stages its games on Sundays, leaving a couple of dozen teams to vie for the football-watching public’s attention. On Monday, though, there is only one game, and unlike Sunday’s games, which are played primarily during the day, Monday’s game is in prime time.

But they had little choice if they wanted to impress the media—and perhaps get the NFL’s attention. Mehri was the less busy of the two, so he took on the bulk of the work and farmed it out around his office. By late September, the report had endured countless revisions and tweaks. It was as good as it would be, not because Mehri deemed it perfect, but because time had run out. Although the document was solid, Mehri would have liked more time to tinker with it. He never lacked ideas for improving his work, and he seemed to view deadlines largely as inconvenient impediments to the creative process.

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