The announcement that the Redskins had replaced vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato with former Buccaneers general manager Bruce Allen may have been a violation of the league's expanded Rooney Rule requirements for diversity hiring practices.
League owners voted in June to expand the Rooney Rule from coaches to senior club football positions, meaning that all teams are required to interview at least one minority candidate before hiring their top football administrator.
The Redskins appear to have violated that rule by naming Allen immediately to succeed Cerrato. Unless the Redskins secretly interviewed a minority candidate for the position, the league could impose sanctions on the team for skirting the new requirements. If found to be in violation of the rule, the league could fine and/or remove draft picks(s).
UPDATE: ESPN's Adam Schefter has reported that the Redskins interviewed two unnamed minority candidates before hiring Allen, thus fulfilling the Rooney Rule requirements.
Here's a look at the announcement made by the NFL on June 15 after owners passed the measure.
"Commissioner ROGER GOODELL informed NFL clubs today that the mandatory
interview requirements currently in place for the head coach position
have been extended to the senior football operations position at each
club, the NFL announced today.
"This policy specifically requires clubs to interview at least one
minority candidate as part of the hiring process for a club's senior
football operations position, whether described as general manager,
executive vice president of football operations, or otherwise.
"Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman DAN ROONEY, who is chairman of the league's
Workplace Diversity Committee, recommended the extension of the rule on
behalf of the committee. The recommendation received strong endorsement
from clubs during discussion at the league's spring meeting in Fort
Lauderdale in May."
Quote from Goodell:
"The discussion at the league meeting identified the strong reasons for
taking this step, which in large part simply confirms a recommended
practice that clubs have voluntarily embraced. The recommendation also recognizes that this process has worked well in the context of head coaches, and that clubs have deservedly received considerable positive recognition for their efforts in this
There are currently five African-American senior club football
operations executives - ROD GRAVES (Arizona), MARTIN MAYHEW (Detroit),
OZZIE NEWSOME (Baltimore), JERRY REESE (New York Giants) and RICK SMITH
(Houston). Newsome and Smith are members of the league's Competition
Committee. The league's senior football executive, NFL Executive Vice
President of Football Operations RAY ANDERSON, is African-American.
The requirement will not apply in cases where the position is held or
filled by the owner or a member of his family, or where a club has a
pre-existing contractual commitment filed with the league office to
promote a current member of its staff if the senior football operations
position becomes vacant.
Although it is not required, Commissioner Goodell strongly urged clubs
in today's memo to interview a broad and diverse slate of candidates for
a wide range of football operations roles, including scouting, player
personnel, and contract and cap management positions. "The more thorough
the search, the more likely clubs are to find the right candidates, and
to be able to groom future leaders from within their organizations," the