Breaking News – TIDES Gives NFL a ‘B’ in Its Racial and Gender Report Card

Breaking News – TIDES Gives NFL a ‘B’ in Its Racial and Gender Report Card

Richard Lapchick, Director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida, has released the 2021 National Football League Racial and Gender Report Card.

Using data from the 2021 season, it will include an analysis of the racial breakdown of the players, general managers, and coaches. In addition, the Report Card includes a racial and gender breakdown of the management in the League Office, team owners, team level management, and team professional staff.

Among the Highlights:

  • The NFL League Office announced two major positions that were filled by women since last year’s Report Card. Kimberly Fields transferred into a new senior leadership role as Senior Vice President of Football Business Strategy. Additionally, Marissa Solis was hired as the Senior Vice President of Global Brand and Consumer Marketing.


  • In November 2020, the NFL passed a proposal that provides third round compensatory draft pick rewards to teams that develop minority and women candidates for primary football executive / general manager positions or a head coach position.


  • NFL Football Operations hosted its fifth annual Women’s Careers in Football Forum in February of 2021. The Forum is led by Sam Rapoport, the NFL’s Senior Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. The Forum connected female participants currently working in college football with leaders in professional and collegiate football. The goal of the Forum is to support the development of a talent pipeline by connecting high-potential female candidates to career opportunities in football. Over the course of the two-day event, participants networked with hiring managers and football decision-makers and learned from experts at all levels of the game on how to further their careers in football. In 2021, there was an all-time NFL record 12 women in coaching positions.


  • If those minority and/or women candidates move to the position of Primary Football Executive or Head Coach, teams would be compensated with future 3rd round compensatory draft picks.


  • In October 2021, the NFL made an additional enhancement to the Rooney Rule, requiring that at least two external minority candidates for general manager/executive of football operations positions and all coordinator roles are interviewed.


  • NFL clubs must now conduct in-person interviews for at least one external minority candidate for any head coach or general manager opening; all coordinator and assistant general manager candidates can be interviewed virtually, but in-person is strongly encouraged.


  • Two first-time head coaches of color were hired prior to the 2021 season, Robert Saleh (New York Jets) and David Culley (Houston Texans).


  • The total number of NFL head coaches of color increased from 12.5 percent in 2020 to 15.6 percent in 2021.


  • The overall percentage of women in the NFL League Office was at an all-time high of 38.8 percent in 2021, an increase of 0.6 percentage points from 38.2 percent in 2020. This is a significant improvement from 29.6 percent of women holding these positions just six years prior in 2014.


  • In the NFL League Office, the percentage of people of color in vice president roles or above increased from 24.5 percent in 2020 to 26.5 percent in 2021. Women in these positions decreased from 31.5 percent in 2020 to 30.6 percent in 2021.


  • There are two people of color who have significant ownership interests and are involved in the operations of an NFL club. Shad Khan, a Pakistani-born American businessman and the principal owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, joined NFL ownership in 2012. Kim Pegula, an Asian American woman, holds a major interest in the Buffalo Bills. She joined NFL ownership in 2014.


  • At the start of the 2021 season, there were five people of color holding general manager positions, representing 15.6 percent of all general managers. This was an increase of 9.1 percentage points from 2020. All five men were Black or African-American.


  • The percentage of women vice presidents at the team level increased to its highest mark ever at 25.1 percent in 2021. This was a 4.0 percentage point increase from 21.1 percent in 2020.


  • Black or African-Americans held 13.2 percent of team professional staff roles in 2021, the highest in NFL RGRC history.


  • People of color held 20.1 percent of team senior administration positions in 2021, the highest in NFL RGRC history.


  • Women held 25.3 percent of team senior administration positions in 2021, the highest percentage since 2000.


  • People of color comprised 28.6 percent of officials at the start of the 2021 season, an increase of 3.4 percentage points from 25.2 in 2020.