Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch Talks NFL's Lack of Minority Owners, More at Panel

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 21, 2020

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 12: Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks looks on before the NFC Divisional Playoff game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on January 12, 2020 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch offered his thoughts on the state of minority ownership—or lack thereof—in the NFL during a panel at MLK Now on Monday. 

CNN Money's Ahiza Garcia noted in May 2018 that the NFL has only two owners of color: Shad Khan and Kim Pegula.

In a discussion with director Ryan Coogler and rapper J. Cole, Lynch explained how the current state of affairs presents a problem for players. Not only do they rarely have a clear path that could lead to ownership or front-office roles, but the five-time Pro Bowler also said his colleagues often feel pressured to engage in code-switching "in order to fit in" (warning: video contains profanity):

The full discussion with Lynch, Coogler and Cole is available on YouTube.

The Rooney Rule was supposed to address the lack of diversity in the NFL coaching ranks but has failed to remedy the issue. Kevin Stefanski's hiring by the Cleveland Browns meant Ron Rivera was the only minority coach to fill the five head coaching vacancies that had opened after the regular season.

The situation was worse a year ago, when only one of the eight available jobs went to a minority candidate (Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores).

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Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II said last week that the league's Workplace Diversity Committee plans to look at ways the Rooney Rule could be amended.

Increasing diversity among NFL ownership will be an even harder obstacle to tackle.

"Historically, the wealth in this country belongs to white males," sports attorney Richard Roth said to Garcia in 2018. "It's the same reason most Fortune 500 companies, most law firms, etc. are owned by white males."

Roth also highlighted how 22 of the NFL's 32 teams have remained within the same family for at least 20 years.

The Carolina Panthers were the last franchise to change hands when David Tepper paid $2.275 billion for them in July 2018.