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The Rooney Rule didn’t save the NFL

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A detail of the uniform and whistle of an NFL referee.

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 23: A detail of the uniform and whistle of an NFL referee as he oversees the action between the Houston Texans and the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 23, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Texans defeated the Broncos 31-25. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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Super Bowl weekend is almost here, and while the National Football League would probably like us to talk about the big game, we’re discussing its hiring practices. 

Last week, the recently fired head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Brian Flores, filed a lawsuit against the NFL alleging, among other things, that it discriminates against Black coaches. Currently, there’s one Black head coach in the league. 

The Rooney Rule was supposed to increase diversity within coaching staffs by requiring teams to interview at least one minority job candidate. But not much has changed in the two decades since that rule has been in place. 

“People in other industries brought the Rooney Rule to their industries because they saw it in the NFL. And so if you have the place where the rule was essentially born falling down in the job with respect to implementing the rule, then there’s going to be less confidence in the rule elsewhere,” said N. Jeremi Duru, professor of sports law at American University and author of the book “Advancing the Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for Equal Coaching Opportunity in the NFL.”

In the News Fix, we’ll stick with today’s sporty theme and talk about Olympic gold medalist skier Eileen Gu and how she’s managed to walk a political tightrope amid tensions between the U.S. and China. Also, we’re keeping an eye on the U.S.-Canadian border.

Later, a shoutout to Kimberly’s hometown and a special announcement about our Economics on Tap YouTube livestream.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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