NFL investigating Raiders for 'Rooney Rule' violation, report says

The NFL is investigating the Raiders’ head coach hiring process and whether they violated the “Rooney Rule,” a league official told ESPN. 

The investigation comes one day after the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which promotes diversity in NFL coaching and executive positions, asked the league to find out if the rule on minority interviews was violated when Oakland hired Jon Gruden as coach.

A statement from the Fritz Pollard Alliance released Wednesday claims the Raiders agreed to terms with Gruden before firing Jack Del Rio at the end of the season and thus didn’t interview other candidates for the coaching vacancy. The “Rooney Rule,” implemented in 2003, requires at least one minority candidate be interviewed during a search to hire a head coach, general manager or other top-end positions. 

“As soon as we learned of the reports, we formally requested that the NFL thoroughly investigate the matter to conclusively determine whether the Rooney Rule was violated — and if it was violated, to impose an appropriate punishment,” the Fritz Pollard Alliance statement read, in part. 

According to NFL Media, both Tee Martin and Bobby Johnson were interviewed for the Raiders job but were believed to do so after the franchise made the decision to hire Gruden.

If the league investigates the Raiders and finds they violated the “Rooney Rule” Oakland could be subjected to a major fine and/or a loss of draft picks. 

Ex-Lions general manager Matt Millen was fined $200,000 for failing to adhere to the “Rooney Rule” when he hired Steve Mariucci in 2003.