In that year-old letter, Dungy elucidated to the NFL that the fortunes of the Los Angeles Rams and especially the Cleveland Browns changed when they hired Black players in 1950. The Browns, Dungy pointed out, “immediately dominated the league and made it to six straight championship games,” he said in the year-old letter.
Despite a slight semblance of progress that had been made since the days of Jim Crowism, the exclusively White ownership ranks have seemingly reverted back to the days of legal segregation in its mindset.
“Almost 70% of the players are African Americans. Over 30% of the assistant coaches are minorities. We will have two female coaches and a female official on the sidelines of this year’s Super Bowl. But there are other areas where the representation is not nearly as complete,” Dungy continued in that 2021 letter. “Are we to believe that you’re really doing exhaustive searches, trying to uncover the best coaches, but only two out of the last 20 have been African Americans?
“You should know how much it hurt me in 1977 to graduate from college and not be given a chance to try to play QB in the NFL. It hurt in 1993 to have coordinated the number one defense in the NFL and not get an interview for one of the five head coaching openings that year. But I have to tell you it hurts even more to see African American coaches going through the same thing almost 30 years later.”
Watch Dungy explain his position on diversity on “Inside the NFL.”