Sam Acho said Sunday he doesn't believe incentives for NFL teams to hire minorities as head coaches and general managers is the answer to solve the league's diversity problem.
Acho, a member of the NFL Players Association's executive committee, said on ESPN Radio's Sunday Morning that the solution is about giving deserving coaches opportunities earlier in their careers.
"The problem is, it can't be about incentives. It's gotta be about giving the right coaches the right opportunities. The problem with the NFL is that there's so much cronyism; it's all about who you know. Oftentimes, NFL coaches aren't the best coaches; they're not. Oftentimes, people talk about the politics and the business of football; it's about who you know, and no one wants to talk about it," the veteran linebacker, who is currently a free agent, said.
"... when you see really good coaches come about, you really get excited. That's why, for me and a ton of players, you get happy when you get a coach that's actually a good coach, not just a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy. That's what happens -- I got a buddy, gets in the door; and now all of a sudden, he becomes a position coach or a linebacker coach or a head coach or whatever -- as opposed to giving the best possible candidates an opportunity. So do I think an incentive system is the way? No."
Sources confirmed to ESPN on Friday that the NFL is considering improving draft pick selections in the third round for teams that hire minority candidates as head coaches or general managers. Teams also could receive compensatory picks if minority candidates remain as a head coach or GM into their third year or if a team loses a minority candidate who becomes a head coach or GM with another team. There are also possible draft pick incentives for hiring a minority coach as a coordinator or quarterbacks coach.
The proposal will be one of several that is expected to be discussed during Tuesday's virtual meeting with team owners, a league source confirmed to ESPN. Any proposal would need 24 of 32 votes in favor to pass.
There currently are only four minority head coaches -- the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin, the Los Angeles Chargers' Anthony Lynn, the Miami Dolphins' Brian Flores and the Washington Redskins' Ron Rivera -- and two minority GMs -- the Dolphins' Chris Grier and the Cleveland Browns' Andrew Berry. Acho said Sunday that last month's virtual draft put the NFL's lack of diversity in positions of power on full display.
"It's like one of America's best-kept secrets -- no one knows who's in charge, especially in corporate America. But because of COVID, we got an inside look to who's in charge. And I think it just opened some people's eyes into a bigger problem that's going on in our country, which is a lack of diversity, especially in positions of power," he said.