The Fritz Pollard Alliance is looking into the Indianapolis Colts’ decision to hire Jeff Saturday as their interim coach, claiming that the hiring process for the provisional position didn’t properly vet minority candidates — á la The Rooney Rule.
The Alliance released a statement on Thursday announcing their inquiry, alongside the NFL, and called for Rooney Rule-style processes to be incorporated into mid-season coaching hires.
“In light of the recent interim head coaching hire in Indianapolis, the FPA has initiated an inquiry with the NFL into whether this hiring process conformed with NFL Hiring Guidelines for naming an interim Head Coach,” the Alliance announced.
Was Jeff Saturday’s Hiring ‘Racist’? Nah.
Fritz Pollard suggests that Indy’s hiring practices are emblematic of a widespread problem with minority candidates in the League without referencing the Carolina Panthers’ hiring of Steve Wilks — an African-American coach — earlier this year when Matt Rhule was ousted.
According to the site’s mission statement: “The Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation is our charitable arm, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating the public about equal opportunity in sports and providing scholarships to aspiring sports industry professionals of color.”
As reported by OutKick’s Dan Zaksheske, the sports media quickly took offense to the Saturday hire — a 14-year member of the Colts organization as a player — not for his inexperience in coaching but for being a White man.
Many interpreted Saturday’s shortcoming as a form of privilege, despite Colts owner Jim Irsay’s response that Saturday was the man for the job due to his longstanding work for the organization behind the scenes.
Critics, like the perpetually triggered ex-ESPN employee Jemele Hill, proclaimed that a “black coach likely would never be in Jeff’s position.”
Saturday stepped into the head coach role last week after the Colts split with Frank Reich. He won his debut game as coach on Sunday against the Raiders, 25-20.