NFL notebook: League will probe whether Raiders violated Rooney Rule

Jon Gruden Rich Gannon

The Oakland Raiders officially introduced Jon Gruden as the head coach of the Silver and Black Tuesday afternoon during a press conference at the team's Alameda, Calif., facility. In 2011, the Raiders hired Hue Jackson (a minority) as head coach in 2011. In a way, it led to a bogged down offense under former head coach Jack Del Rio.

The NFL confirmed on Thursday it was examining the circumstances surrounding Gruden's appointment, ESPN reported.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, not only did the Raiders interview two minorities for their head coaching vacancy, the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation already acknowledged the team's compliance with the Rooney Rule.

"If so, the club violated the Rooney Rule.as soon as we learned of the reports, we formally requested that the National Football League thoroughly investigate the matter to conclusively determine whether the Rooney Rule was violated - and if it was violated, to impose an appropriate punishment". The Detroit Lions got fined $200,000 when it didn't interview a minority before hiring Steve Mariucci as coach in 2003.

ESPN.com noted Raiders owner Mark Davis said he wanted Gruden as the head coach since he took over the team from his late father, Al Davis, six years ago.

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Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said Tuesday that he interviewed two minority candidates prior to Gruden's hiring.

There is also debate whether Martin, an offensive coordinator at USC, or Bobby Johnson, the team's tight end coach, were ever serious candidates for the job.

Gannon played three seasons for Gruden during the coach's first stint with the Raiders. "And this time he didn't waver, either", Davis said.

Of course, the rule works only if the NFL enforces it, which is why the Fritz Pollard Alliance and others are so adamant that the league look into whether the Raiders took it seriously in this case.

"I have always felt a team can have a front-runner and minority candidates can compete against a front-runner, and sometimes they get selected", Mehri said, noting that Super Bowl-winning coaches Mike Tomlin and Tony Dungy were not front-runners before getting hired.

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