Stephen A. Smith Asks Adam Silver to Introduce 'Rooney Rule' in NBA

Stephen A. Smith Asks Adam Silver to Introduce 'Rooney Rule' in NBA

Regulation ensures minority coaching and senior front-office candidates get fair shake in NFL.

Published February 17, 2016

Stephen A. Smith isn't one to hold his tongue, telling it like it is in sports each morning on ESPN's First Take and beyond.

Well, upon learning of an ESPN report that the Brooklyn Nets offered their vacant general manager role to Sean Marks, who is white, Smith went off, rattling down Marks's resume, before pleading with NBA commissioner Adam Silver to institute a "Rooney Rule," which ensures that minority candidates must be interviewed for vacant head coaching or senior front-office spots, before a hire is made in the NFL.

It's not that Smith believes that Marks isn't qualified, having played an important role in the success of the San Antonio Spurs after retiring from the NBA as a player in 2011. It's more that Smith feels like Black candidates aren't getting a fair shake.

"The very next year basketball operations guy, running [Spurs'] D-League team. The next thing you know he's [the Spurs'] assistant coach, they win the championship [in 2014] and now he's being offered the GM job for the Brooklyn Nets," Smith said of Marks's post-playing career path live on First Take on Wednesday. "Forgive me for saying this, but what Black person gets an opportunity like that? Because I'm not aware of it and if I'm wrong, I apologize. This is ridiculous."

That's when Smith asked Silver to institute an NBA "Rooney Rule," which was established in 2003 in the NFL to ensure that minority candidates must get interviewed for coaching jobs and senior front-office positions before a hire is made.

"Right here on national TV, in front of your face, I'm going to ask commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA to adopt a 'Rooney Rule' for the National Basketball Association just to make sure, if nothing else, that Black candidates are being interviewed for these jobs and more importantly we know who they are when they're being interviewed, so we can stop hearing about these other names coming out of nowhere that never happened to be Black," Smith continued.

He proceeded to rattle off worthy Black candidates that should have been considered for the Nets' GM job and also future openings, including the long-tenured likes of Troy Weaver and Scott Perry, who have enjoyed documented success with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Detroit Pistons, but have yet to get the chance to be a full-time GM in the NBA.

He even mentioned Joe Dumars, whose front-office president moves were key in the Pistons winning the title in 2004, but whose rough subsequent seasons led to his removal.

Well, commissioner Silver? The ball's in your court now.

Watch Stephen A.'s rant below.

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(Photos from Left: Elsa/Getty Images, Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images for Beyond Sport)

Written by Mark Lelinwalla


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