NFL plans to ‘look into’ possible Rooney Rule violation by Raiders

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Fritz Pollard Alliance successfully petitioned the NFL.

An investigation into the Raiders’ hiring of Jon Gruden has begun.

On Wednesday, the Fritz Pollard Alliance requested an examination into whether the Raiders violated the Rooney Rule. The policy requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for a head coach, general manager and other senior personnel executive position. On Thursday, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league will “look into this.”

If deemed in violation, the Raiders would be subject to a significant fine.

Owner Mark Davis met with reporters Tuesday afternoon following Gruden’s introductory news conference. He indicated that he fired coach Jack Del Rio on Dec. 31 after a mutual understanding between Davis and Gruden that both were “all in” on Gruden’s return to coaching.

Davis also said that, had he not felt assured Gruden could be acquired, the team would have retained Del Rio.

“I believe that I would’ve sat down with Jack, and we would’ve figured out coordinators and assistant coaches and things like that and try to figure out how to reinvigorate the franchise through Jack,” Davis said.

Davis and Gruden discussed a potential partnership on Christmas Eve in Philadelphia, Davis said. The Raiders played the Eagles on Christmas Day where Gruden worked the ESPN broadcast as a color analyst.

“I felt pretty confident that he was all-in,” Davis said. “And that’s the term that we were using in our discussions and everything. ‘Are you all-in?’ And I never wavered from all-in. And this time he didn’t waver, either.”

On Dec. 31, ESPN reported that Gruden would be Del Rio’s replacement.

The Raiders interviewed two minority candidates in the days that followed: tight ends coach Bobby Johnson and USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin. News arose Jan. 5 that Gruden would sign a 10-year contract with $100 million. The team announced his hiring on Jan. 6.

More Raiders: Follow all of our Raiders coverage online at reviewjournal.com/Raiders and @NFLinVegas on Twitter.

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at mgehlken@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

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