By N. Jeremi Duru
Following the NFL's desegregation in 1946, possibilities grew to become more and more ample for African American players--but no longer African American coaches. even supposing significant League Baseball and the NBA made growth during this regard through the years, the NFL's head coaches have been nearly completely white up till the mid-1990s. Advancing the Ball chronicles the crusade of former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman John Wooten to correct this incorrect and undo many years of discriminatory head trainer hiring practices--an initiative that eventually bore fruit whilst he joined forces with legal professionals Cyrus Mehri and Johnnie Cochran. including a couple of allies, the triumvirate galvanized the NFL's African American assistant coaches to face jointly for equivalent chance and confident the league to enact the "Rooney Rule," which stipulates that each group needs to interview at the least one minority candidate whilst looking for a brand new head trainer. In doing so, they spurred a stream that will considerably influence the NFL and, possibly, the country. that includes an impassioned foreword by means of trainer Tony Dungy, Advancing the Ball bargains an eye-opening, first-hand examine how a number of dedicated contributors initiated a sea switch in America's hottest recreation and extra a rare new bankruptcy to the civil rights tale.
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Additional info for Advancing the Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for Equal Coaching Opportunity in the NFL
Over the span of just a few years during America’s turbulent civil rights era, in response to King’s and others’ enduring insistence that America embody its promise as a free democracy, the United States Congress revolutionized the nation’s legal landscape with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Each of the three statutes augmented the nation’s body of laws with prohibitions against discrimination, but Mehri was partial to the Civil Rights Act, and particularly to the seventh of the statute’s eleven titles.
Mehri argued that since Cochran had not yet shown himself to be a bad actor in the context of the case, they should limit their allegations of wrongdoing to Gary and simply send Cochran a copy of the motion. After some convincing, the team agreed. It would prove to be among the best decisions of Mehri’s career. 24 Advancing the Ball Cochran was at a retreat in Jamaica when his ofﬁce received the copy of the motion, and as soon as he learned of it, he called Mehri. Cochran acknowledged that he had worked with Gary on previous matters, but he told Mehri he had never agreed to represent plaintiffs against Coke and was not sure how his name had materialized on the complaint.
An Idea’s Origin 27 As Cochran’s reputation for brilliant lawyering burgeoned, so too did his roster of clients and his wealth. Celebrities began seeking Cochran’s assistance, and as their lawyer, he in turn became a celebrity. He loved trying cases and he loved growing his practice. So when former NFL star O. J. Simpson, charged with murdering his former wife in 1994, sought Cochran’s representation, Cochran accepted the challenge, embraced his role as Simpson’s lawyer, and won the case. The victory would forever alter Cochran’s life.