The NFL's record on minority hiring is troubling. The latest incentive plan is a reminder.

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(The Advocate) - How bad is the lack of diversity in the NFL when it comes to hiring minority head coaches and general managers?

It's so troubling that the league is considering the most drastic of measures to try to fix it.

NFL owners are scheduled to vote Tuesday on an incentive plan that will reward teams for hiring minority head coaches or general managers by allowing those teams to move up six spots in the third round of the draft.

Is that what it's going to take?

The same owners who have rarely hired minorities need a little nudge to start doing something they should have been doing all along.

Hopefully as owners are discussing this plan, they will realize why they are having this discussion in the first place.

Instead of putting the plan down on paper, perhaps NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should just write it on a giant mirror so the owners will see the real problem: themselves.

Lack of diversity in the head coaching ranks and in the front office falls solely on the ones making those decisions.

On the surface, this sounds like a tone-deaf idea to make the owners do something they've been hesitant to do instead of addressing the real issue.

But in reality, the plan is trying to speak a language the owners can understand. Typically, that language is money, wins, or the thing that can lead to both: draft picks.

It will take 24 of the league's 32 owners to vote for this incentive plan for it to pass.

If it passes, one of two things will happen.

Things will stay pretty much the same, much as they have since the implementation of the 2003 Rooney Rule, which required teams to interview at least one minority candidate during coaching searches.

Or the number of minority coaches and GMs will increase.

If that happens, of course, there will be those who question every minority hire from now on.

"Oh, he only got the job because he was a minority," some will surely say.

Anyone who believes this but has never questioned the qualifications of other hires should perhaps check their own personal biases.

In reality, no owner would hire an unqualified person to run their team or front office just to move up some spots in the draft.

But they may consider hiring a qualified person to handle those jobs if they were able to move up a few spots.

And that's what the purpose of this plan is: to even the playing field for those qualified candidates who have so often been overlooked.

Minorities just want a fair chance.

They haven't been getting one.

Currently, there are only four minority head coaches in the NFL: Mike Tomlin (Steelers), Anthony Lynn (Chargers), Brian Flores (Dolphins) and Ron Rivera (Redskins). And there are currently just two minority general managers: Chris Grier (Dolphins) and Andrew Berry (Browns).

That's down from two seasons ago when the league had eight minority head coaches, including Marrero native Vance Joseph, who lasted just two seasons in Denver, and Steve Wilks, who was given just one season with the Arizona Cardinals. So the numbers are trending in the wrong direction. (College football, by the way, has a similar problem, with only 14 minority coaches out of 130 FBS positions.)

Even coordinators who appear to be ready for head coaching gigs are getting passed over.

The latest and most obvious example of that is Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.

Bieniemy, who coordinated the Chiefs' high-powered offense to a Super Bowl title just three months ago, seemed to have a résumé that would have moved him right to the front of the line for head coaching jobs. He reportedly interviewed for three jobs but didn't get one.

As drastic as this incentive plan may seem, there's a silver lining.

The NFL — a league in which 70% of the players are minorities — realizes it has a diversity problem.

Goodell said so in his annual State of the League address during Super Bowl week.

"Clearly, we are not where we want to be on this issue," he said. "We have a lot of work that's gone into not only the Rooney Rule but our policies overall. It's clear we need to change and do something different."

The Rooney Rule hasn't gotten the desired result since being introduced in 2003. So now there is this new incentive plan.

A team that hires a minority head coach would move up six spots from its original slot in the third round.

There's more. A team would move up 10 spots if they hire a minority general manager. And if a team hires a GM and a head coach, it could move up 16 spots.

Teams would also move up five spots in the fourth round if they retain a minority hire for at least three seasons. Also, there are compensatory picks for teams that lose minority coaches who go to other teams to become coordinators, head coaches or general managers elsewhere.

Whether or not this plan passes, the NFL will have to revisit this again in a few years if the numbers don't get better.

The fact the NFL knows it has a diversity problem is a good thing.

It's unfortunate the league has to consider a plan like this to address it.

Here's hoping the owners voting on the plan will take a look at themselves and see the real problem.

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