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NAACP letter to Jaguars owner: interview Black candidates for coaching vacancy

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan stands on the side of the field before an NFL football...
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan stands on the side of the field before an NFL football game between the Miami Dolphins and the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium in London, England, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)(Matt Dunhan | AP)
Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 1:43 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 3, 2022 at 1:50 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A regional chapter of the NAACP is asking the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars to interview Black candidates as the NFL team continues the search for its next head coach.

The letter, penned by a group of concerned pastors, the National Action Network and the NAACP chapter of Jacksonville, calls for a meeting with owner Shahid Khan to discuss the need for systemic changes in the Jaguars organization.

“Sir, as you look for a new head coach, we want to make it clear and encourage you to earnestly interview highly qualified African American candidates,” the letter reads. “As you know, there are a plethora of seasoned and excellent African Americans coaches in this market.”

The pastors wrote that they want to see Jacksonville’s NFL team establish a culture of winning, transparency and racial respectability. To usher in that culture change, the group said the Jaguars need to hire “the best, brightest, smartest, experienced and most gifted and qualified person” as the team’s next head coach.

“We most definitely believe that several African American coaches are available who can transform the Jaguars into a consistent winner both on and off the football field,” the letter says.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is among the candidates the Jaguars have requested to interview for its head coach vacancy, according to CBS Sports.

There are currently three Black head coaches in the NFL: Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins and David Culley of the Houston Texans.

The NFL’s Rooney Rule requires teams to hold multiple interviews with minority candidates outside of the organization for general manager and executive football operations positions, head coach and all coordinator roles. At least one of those interviews with an external minority candidate must be held in person, according to NFL.com.

The following people signed the letter:

  • Reverend Dr. RB Holmes, Jr.
    • President of the Tallahassee Chapter of the National Action Network
    • Chairman of the Concerned Pastors Coalition of Jacksonville and Vicinity
    • A season ticket holder
    • Trustee, Edward Waters University
  • Mr. Isiah Rumlin
    • President, Jacksonville Chapter, NAACP
  • Reverend Reginald Edwards
    • President, Jacksonville Chapter National Action Network
  • Reverend Dr. Fred Newbill
    • Pastor, First Timothy Baptist Church, Jacksonville, FL
  • Dr. Ronald W. Holmes
    • Publisher, The Holmes Educational Post
    • Vice-President, Live Communications, Inc.

You can read the full letter addressed to Khan below:

Dear Mr. Khan:

It is our sincere prayer that you and your family will have a healthy and successful new year. Sir, as leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Action Network and a coalition of concerned pastors, we are writing you because of our deep concerns in reference to the future of the Jacksonville Jaguars. First, let us proudly inform you that many of us and our family members are season ticket holders and strong supporters of our Jaguars.

Sir, as you look for a new head coach, we want to make it clear and encourage you to earnestly interview highly qualified African Americans candidates. As you know, there are a plethora of seasoned and excellent African Americans coaches in this market.

We must address the culture of the Jaguars moving forward and create a culture of winning, transparency and racial respectability. We admire your commitment to uplifting the quality of life for all the citizens of Jacksonville and the good people of Florida. Sir, it is time for systemic changes in the Jaguars’ organization.

Moreover, we implore you to begin to make the necessary steps to change the Jaguars’ culture by hiring the best, brightest, smartest, experienced, and most gifted and qualified person to become the next Jaguars head football coach. We most definitely believe that several African Americans coaches are available who can transform the Jaguars into a consistent winner both on and off the football field.

We are requesting a meeting with you to further discuss our support of the Jaguars and join your dynamic commitment to building a winning legacy as owner of our beloved team. Feel free to reach to contact us.

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