National Football League finds Raiders complied with Rooney Rule after investigation


An investigation was launched after the Fitz Pollard Alliance, a campaign group that promotes diversity in American football, asked the league to look into Gruden's appointment.

"We believe the facts overwhelmingly point in the other direction", the alliance said in a statement obtained by the NFL Network.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance has usually been open to accepting National Football League teams' explanations about interviewing minority candidates, but in this case, Raiders owner Mark Davis admitted he had an agreement with Gruden before Jack Del Rio was sacked, which means the job was never really open.

The NFL has ruled that the Oakland Raiders complied with the Rooney Rule when hiring head coach Jon Gruden, after a week-long investigation.

Team owner Mark Davis implied at Gruden's introductory news conference that Davis had all but decided on hiring Gruden after they met Christmas Eve, while Jack Del Rio was still the coach.

"The NFL broke ground when it created the Rooney Rule, but it made the wrong call in refusing to penalize Mark Davis in this instance".

The league determined Friday that Davis didn't come to an agreement with Gruden before interviewing Johnson and Martin, which means the Raiders won't face a hefty fine that likely would've been imposed had they violated the Rooney Rule. The Rooney Rule and all of the League's equal opportunity efforts need to be strengthened.

Detroit Lions president Matt Millen received a $200,000 fine in 2003 for violating the Rooney Rule by not interviewing any minority coaching candidates prior to hiring Steve Mariucci as head coach. It is a process that simply needed to be done in order for Oakland to get Gruden to take over as the next head coach.

Gruden left the broadcast booth at ESPN to return to the franchise where he spent his first four seasons as a head coach.

Gruden is in his second stint as coach of the Raiders after being traded by Oakland to Tampa Bay following the 2001 season.