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Rooney Rule should include gay NFL coaches

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin

Herm Edwards has complained that the Saints' search for an interim head coach has not included any black coaches. The NFL's "Rooney Rule" requires that a minority candidate be interviewed for every vacant head coaching position. The Saints is an interesting situation, and it will be interesting to see what the league makes of it.

I'm left wondering what protection there is for gay coaches. While a quarter of the NFL head coaches right now are racial minorities, not one is an openly gay man. In fact, there isn't a publicly out gay man in any coaching or staff position in the entire NFL. Part of that reason is perceived job security. Closeted gay men think if they come out they will lose their job.

The NFL has included sexual orientation protection for players in its latest collective bargaining agreement. The next step is to protect the coaches who coach those players. Commissioner Roger Goodell should publicly state that the Rooney Rule includes gay coaches. They need as much hope and opportunity as anyone else.

PHOTO: Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during the fourth quarter of the 2011 AFC wild card playoff game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE