Lack of Indigenous Coaching Staff... Time for a 'Rooney Rule'?

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JVseven

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Feb 19, 2016
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Thought it'd be fitting to discuss this on Indigenous round.

What is a Rooney Rule?



Although Indigenous Aboriginals are only 2% of the total Australian population, they represent 10% of AFL players. Fremantle just sided a team with record 8 Indigenous players.

But when we look at the demographics in the coaching ranks, we get a much different outlook...



The intention/purpose behind a 'Rooney Rule' is simple.

CLARITY: It is NOT a QUOTA. (PLEASE READ THIS AGAIN)

A 'Rooney Rule' is aimed to give disenfranchised and underprivileged minorities equal opportunity and footing, specifically in the coaching ranks. It's an approach utilized to sour the blow of historical racism, discrimination and prejudice. In America, historically African-Americans were both ostracized and ignored by sporting leagues for various reasons ranging from Jim Crow laws, to more basic prejudices like income inequality.


In South Africa, the Springboks have a current directive that's similar in intention to a "Rooney Rule", but aimed at racial player demographics, and is much more extreme being a quota system. This is not a "Rooney Rule", but it's intent is similar... Counteract historical demographic injustices and discrimination.



The discussion of this topic specifically in regards to the AFL is not new. Indigenous AFL Champion Chris Johnson had this to say about the idea;



CLARITY: It is NOT a QUOTA. (PLEASE READ THIS AGAIN)
Best person for the job, whomever that may be. Go away now.
 

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Underarm

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If the aboriginals were a much higher % of the population I would agree with you. Unfortunately our ancestors did a pretty good job of stopping that.
 

Drewie11

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If you are good enough and deserve it then you will get it. Seriously
 

threenewpadlocks

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Stop with this "best person for the job" BS. The indigenous population constitutes 10% of the AFL and has done so for some time now. Then why is the number of assistant coaches and other important football department figures (analysts, development coaches etc.) disproportionate to the 10%? With perhaps 100 assistant coaches/other similar roles across the 18 AFL clubs, only 2 of those 100 are Indigenous? If it really was "best man for the job" you'd think that number be a lot closer to 10/100, rather than the 2/100 than it currently is. There's clearly something at play here, and the "market forces" aren't doing its job to ensure that number should be closer to 10/100.

Maybe a Rooney rule specifically isn't the solution - maybe some sort of separate training program for retiring indigenous players to ready them for a coaching gig can be implemented after retirement?

It's not like understanding the societal disadvantages that Indigenous Australians face is a foreign concept to the AFL or that people are throwing their arms up at it - the AFL already officially have it as a policy: http://www.afl.com.au/afl-hq/careers/indigenous-employment-strategy
 

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dickballsack

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What is the downside to having a rule like this?
the down side is that the person/people who hire coaching staff at clubs would have probably never even thought of background but now because of is rule they are anxious about the scrutiny behind their decision and being labelled racists, etc. players with international backgrounds make up 15% of players since the afl, yet they make up less than 3% of coaching staff. Surely they're also included in this rule??
 

Kwality

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For starters mate 'minority' as it is defined in America constitute 38% of the general population and 72% of NFL players. That is absolutely miles and miles ahead of the respective Indigenous percentages and it is not comparable. I honestly don't think the lack of Indigenous coaches is due to any unconscious or conscious bias or lack of opportunity, it is purely a lack of numbers. Bare in mind also that the percentage of Indigenous players has been increasing over time, you'd expect to see a delayed impact on coaches ranks.

Polly coached in the WAFL in the 60s, the VFL in the 70s, Cabes did the same in the 70s & 80s.

Cabes view on the issue:
"A bit has to do with their culture," he said. "They're a bit laidback-ish and lack a fair bit of confidence. I don't think that has helped. They're a bit shy.

"As a player it's OK because they're out there with all the other guys running around, but when you're a coach you are on your own to a large extent so you need more self-confidence that you can stand up and handle the players and public and the community."
https://thewest.com.au/sport/afl/cable-wants-to-see-aboriginal-coaches-ng-ya-385901
 

kaiserchief13

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Stop with this "best person for the job" BS. The indigenous population constitutes 10% of the AFL and has done so for some time now. Then why is the number of assistant coaches and other important football department figures (analysts, development coaches etc.) disproportionate to the 10%? With perhaps 100 assistant coaches/other similar roles across the 18 AFL clubs, only 2 of those 100 are Indigenous? If it really was "best man for the job" you'd think that number be a lot closer to 10/100, rather than the 2/100 than it currently is. There's clearly something at play here, and the "market forces" aren't doing its job to ensure that number should be closer to 10/100.

Maybe a Rooney rule specifically isn't the solution - maybe some sort of separate training program for retiring indigenous players to ready them for a coaching gig can be implemented after retirement?

It's not like understanding the societal disadvantages that Indigenous Australians face is a foreign concept to the AFL or that people are throwing their arms up at it - the AFL already officially have it as a policy: http://www.afl.com.au/afl-hq/careers/indigenous-employment-strategy
What percentage of current amateur coaches are indigenous?
 

sorted

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Although Indigenous Aboriginals are only 2% of the total Australian population, they represent 10% of AFL players. Fremantle just sided a team with record 8 Indigenous players.

A 'Rooney Rule' is aimed to give disenfranchised and underprivileged minorities equal opportunity and footing, specifically in the coaching ranks. It's an approach utilized to sour the blow of historical racism, discrimination and prejudice.

If Indigenous Aboriginals are only 2% of the total Australian population but they represent 10% of AFL players it's pretty clear that they are not being discriminated against by the AFL.

And if you are playing at AFL level, rather than being disenfranchised and underprivileged, you are well paid and pampered. There's no disadvantage to overcome. Indigenous players who have the character, knowledge and motivation to become coaches will be given the same opportunity as anyone else. There's no need for special rules.
 

100action

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Stop with this "best person for the job" BS. The indigenous population constitutes 10% of the AFL and has done so for some time now. Then why is the number of assistant coaches and other important football department figures (analysts, development coaches etc.) disproportionate to the 10%? With perhaps 100 assistant coaches/other similar roles across the 18 AFL clubs, only 2 of those 100 are Indigenous? If it really was "best man for the job" you'd think that number be a lot closer to 10/100, rather than the 2/100 than it currently is. There's clearly something at play here, and the "market forces" aren't doing its job to ensure that number should be closer to 10/100.

Maybe a Rooney rule specifically isn't the solution - maybe some sort of separate training program for retiring indigenous players to ready them for a coaching gig can be implemented after retirement?

It's not like understanding the societal disadvantages that Indigenous Australians face is a foreign concept to the AFL or that people are throwing their arms up at it - the AFL already officially have it as a policy: http://www.afl.com.au/afl-hq/careers/indigenous-employment-strategy

except indigenous players are over-represented as players and you cant compare and unbiasedly expect the proportion of coaches to match an over-represented sample.

On that logic if they make up 1% of the population then they should make up 1% of coaches.

Alternatively given indigenous players are over-represented as players, this means players of other backgrounds are under-represented. Do you want to introduce a policy so that players of other backgrounds achieve their equitable representation based on their representation in the general population? (which would be at the expense of indigenous players)

It is a stupid idea. Always pick the best person for the job, people cannot choose their genetic makeup and shouldn't miss out because it was a factor.
 

threenewpadlocks

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except indigenous players are over-represented as players and you cant compare and unbiasedly expect the proportion of coaches to match an over-represented sample.

On that logic if they make up 1% of the population then they should make up 1% of coaches.

Alternatively given indigenous players are over-represented as players, this means players of other backgrounds are under-represented. Do you want to introduce a policy so that players of other backgrounds achieve their equitable representation based on their representation in the general population? (which would be at the expense of indigenous players)

It is a stupid idea. Always pick the best person for the job, people cannot choose their genetic makeup and shouldn't miss out because it was a factor.
But virtually every assistant coach is an ex-AFL player. If your point was that assistant coaches were taken from the general population, you'd have a point. But they're not, so your point is moot. 10% of AFL players, AFL players become assistant coaches, 2% of assistant coaches. Clearly something isn't right in the transition from "AFL player" to "AFL coach" for a drop off from 10% to 2%.
 

Substance

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Stop with this "best person for the job" BS. The indigenous population constitutes 10% of the AFL and has done so for some time now. Then why is the number of assistant coaches and other important football department figures (analysts, development coaches etc.) disproportionate to the 10%? With perhaps 100 assistant coaches/other similar roles across the 18 AFL clubs, only 2 of those 100 are Indigenous? If it really was "best man for the job" you'd think that number be a lot closer to 10/100, rather than the 2/100 than it currently is. There's clearly something at play here, and the "market forces" aren't doing its job to ensure that number should be closer to 10/100.

Maybe a Rooney rule specifically isn't the solution - maybe some sort of separate training program for retiring indigenous players to ready them for a coaching gig can be implemented after retirement?

It's not like understanding the societal disadvantages that Indigenous Australians face is a foreign concept to the AFL or that people are throwing their arms up at it - the AFL already officially have it as a policy: http://www.afl.com.au/afl-hq/careers/indigenous-employment-strategy

I don't see a problem with having a interview quota. It's just an interview after all, and the job will still go to whomever the club thinks will be the best coach. But I think it's a mistake to say because 10% of the players are indigenous, 10% of the coaches should be as well. There are obviously a lot of things to factor into it. It's not impossible for it to be 2/100 because it's 2/100. I bet in 10 years that number will be higher without any intervention.
 

sorted

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But virtually every assistant coach is an ex-AFL player. If your point was that assistant coaches were taken from the general population, you'd have a point. But they're not, so your point is moot. 10% of AFL players, AFL players become assistant coaches, 2% of assistant coaches. Clearly something isn't right in the transition from "AFL player" to "AFL coach" for a drop off from 10% to 2%.

The current coaches and assistants were players from between 5 to 30 years ago. What was the % of indigenous players back then? It might take time for the numbers to filter through.

Also, I would expect future coaches to be in the leadership groups of clubs now. Do we see many indigenous players in club leadership groups?
 

The_Wookie

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But virtually every assistant coach is an ex-AFL player. If your point was that assistant coaches were taken from the general population, you'd have a point. But they're not, so your point is moot. 10% of AFL players, AFL players become assistant coaches, 2% of assistant coaches. Clearly something isn't right in the transition from "AFL player" to "AFL coach" for a drop off from 10% to 2%.

What percentage of players actually go on to be assistant coaches in general? I bet the percentage drop off is greater than an 80% drop off.
 

threenewpadlocks

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What percentage of players actually go on to be assistant coaches in general? I bet the percentage drop off is greater than an 80% drop off.
My guess is that's because the average life-span of an assistant - if you count time when they spend as senior coaches - is significantly longer than the 3-4 year average for an AFL player, so the turnover is lesser - so I'm not suggesting that 1/8 players become AFL coaches. My guess is that it's closer to 90-95% as a result of the different turnover.

If we assume all 100 assistant coaches to be ex-AFL players, however, and we make the assumption that the 10% or so rate has held constant for all of the 21st century, to be equally proportional we should have something like 8-10 indigenous assistant coaches, rather than the 2 we currently have.
 

sorted

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I don't see a problem with having a interview quota. It's just an interview after all, and the job will still go to whomever the club thinks will be the best coach.

I work for a big company who has introduced this to redress 'gender imbalance'. In theory, it's fine. In practice, alongside other policies, hiring managers tend to hire females who are less qualified than males as it meets their 'equality' KPIs. The same would happen with the AFL if it introduced interview quotas for indigenous (or gays or vegetarians).
 

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