Former Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis takes offense to Rooney Rule incentive proposal

James Rapien

Former Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was one of the many people that took offense to an NFL proposal that would provide draft compensation to teams that hired minority executives and coaches.

“It was offensive, definitely offensive,” Lewis told Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun. “It was like having Jim Crow laws."

Lewis is on board with some of the changes the league has made to the Rooney Rule. He'd love to see more minority coaches get a chance in the NFL, but he doesn't want draft compensation to be involved. 

“We had come a long way as far as assistant coaches, but we never made any inroads in management,” Lewis said. “This will be a plus requiring more than one minority to be interviewed because it will cause them to take a deeper dive. This will allow more minorities more opportunities.”

There were eight minority head coaches in the NFL in 2017. There are only three black head coaches in the league this season. Ron Rivera of the Washington Redskins is the only Latino head coach.

Preston said Lewis "laughed" at the notion that teams should receive draft compensation for hiring a minority head coach or general manager, which is a proposal that was reportedly tabled by the NFL earlier this week.  

"Draft picks are like gold," Lewis said. "That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. As a head coach, no one wants to be hired or put in that position."

Lewis coached the Bengals from 2003-2018, posting a 131-122 record over 16 seasons. 

He's currently the defensive coordinator at Arizona State on Herm Edwards' staff. The Sun Devils went 8-5 last season.