Why the NFL (Still) Has a Diversity Problem : Consider This from NPR Football is the most watched sport in the US - and one of the most profitable. The NFL reported that last year, the Super Bowl was watched by two-thirds of Americans.

But for some, the popularity and success of the sport are overshadowed by its continuing problems around race - from its handling of players kneeling in protest against the killing of unarmed Black people, to lawsuits over racially biased compensation for concussed Black players, to the NFL's inability –or is it unwillingness?--to hire and retain Black coaches in a league where a majority of the players are black.

On Tuesday, the Houston Texans announced that they have hired a new head coach - DeMeco Ryans. He becomes one of three Black coaches among the 32 teams in the NFL.

The league is also touting a historic first in the upcoming Super Bowl – two Black starting quarterbacks. Are these hopeful signs or progress, or, as some critics contend, too little, too late?

Host Michel Martin talks to Justin Tinsley, who writes about sports and culture and appears on ESPN.

And Carron Phillips, of Deadspin, explains why 20 years of the NFL's Rooney Rule failed to diversity football's leadership roles.

Why the NFL (Still) Has a Diversity Problem

Why the NFL (Still) Has a Diversity Problem

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1154523571/1200109090" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Brian Flores speaks with NPR host Jay Williams. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
NPR/NPR

Brian Flores speaks with NPR host Jay Williams.

NPR/NPR

Football is the most watched sport in the US - and one of the most profitable. The NFL reported that last year, the Super Bowl was watched by two-thirds of Americans.

But for some, the popularity and success of the sport are overshadowed by its continuing problems around race - from its handling of players kneeling in protest against the killing of unarmed Black people, to lawsuits over racially biased compensation for concussed Black players, to the NFL's inability –or unwillingness?--to hire and retain Black coaches in a league where a majority of the players are black.

On Tuesday, the Houston Texans announced that they have hired a new head coach - DeMeco Ryans. He becomes one of three Black coaches among the 32 teams in the NFL.

The league is also touting a historic first in the upcoming Super Bowl – two Black starting quarterbacks. Are these hopeful signs, or, as some critics contend, too little, too late?

Host Michel Martin talks to Justin Tinsley, who writes about sports and culture and appears on ESPN. And Carron Phillips, of Deadspin, explains why after 20 years the NFL's Rooney Rule has failed to bring diversity to leadership roles.

In participating regions, you'll also hear a local news segment to help you make sense of what's going on in your community.

Email us at considerthis@npr.org.

This episode was produced by Marc Rivers. It was edited by Jeanette Woods. Our executive producer is Ciera Crawford.