Packers Not Winning On Diversity

The Packers will go into next season with more wins than any team since Matt LaFleur was hired in 2019. That’s good. They’ll also go into next season with the least diverse coaching staff and front office in the National Football League. That’s not good, especially at a time when the NFL is rightly under fire for not providing enough opportunities for minorities.

With all of the positions now filled, LaFleur’s revamped staff has no minority coordinators and only three minority position coaches – Ben Sirmans with the running backs, Jerry Montgomery with the defensive line, and Jerry Gray with the defensive backs. As the table below indicates, those are the worst numbers in the entire league when it comes to diversity.

TEAMHEAD COACH (10)COORDINATORS (6)POSITION COACHES (3)ASSISTANT POSITION COACHES (1)TOTAL POINTS
Pittsburgh116236
Tampa Bay132236
Houston115132
Chicago024327
Washington104426
Denver024125
Miami104325
Las Vegas015223
Jets104123
Jacksonville015122
Baltimore015021
Chargers015021
Minnesota014321
Detroit014220
Indianapolis014220
Miami104325
Giants014220
Atlanta014119
Philadelphia014119
Seattle013419
Arizona014018
Dallas005217
Rams013116
N. Orleans0*1/24116
Tennessee005015
Carolina004214
Buffalo012113
Kansas City012113
N. England0**04113
Cincinnati004012
Cleveland011312
Green Bay003110

It’s also worse than a year ago. Since the season-ending loss to San Francisco in late January, LaFleur replaced a white coordinator, a Black coordinator, and four white position coaches with two white coordinators and four white position coaches.

LaFleur’s most vexing decision was choosing Jason Rebrovich as outside linebackers coach. The 44-year-old wasn’t even in the league in 2021 after spending eight seasons in Buffalo and Jacksonville. Of those eight seasons, only one was spent working with outside linebackers. It’s hard to believe there wasn’t a Black assistant at least as qualified for this job.

Of the 64 players on Green Bay’s current roster, 43 are Black. That’s nearly 70 percent. It’s problematic that less than 30 percent of the team’s coordinators and position coaches are Black. On the other hand, all three quality control coaches are minorities, but those are low-paying entry-level positions. LaFleur will deserve credit when some of those guys move up the ladder. So far, just Ryan Mahaffey has received a promotion, and he’s still only an assistant with the O-line.

I’m not suggesting in any way that LaFleur is intentionally doing something wrong. He’s obviously hiring the people he considers to be the best candidates. That said, he has to be aware of the optics. Having no Black coordinators and only three Black position coaches in a league that’s over two-thirds Black isn’t good enough. And while he hasn’t been called out on it yet, don’t think for a minute the players don’t notice that when the coaches gather, it looks like a mini Trump rally.

The Packers are also lagging behind when it comes to minorities in the front office. Their general manager is white (Brian Gutekunst), and so is the assistant GM (Milt Hendrickson), the co-directors of football operations (Jon-Erik Sullivan and John Wojciechowski), and the director of college scouting (Matt Malaspina). Aside from some of the low-paid and overworked regional scouts, the only minority in the front office is director of pro personnel Richmond Williams.

The lack of diversity on the coaching staff and in the front office is not only wrong from a moral standpoint, but it’s also wrong from a competitive standpoint. The league awards two third-round compensatory picks to teams that develop future minority head coaches and general managers. The 49ers, for example, have collected six picks in the past 14 months. The Packers, their rivals in the NFC, haven’t received any extra picks, and none will be coming anytime soon.

*Kris Richard is a co-defensive coordinator.

**The Patriots don’t have an offensive coordinator or a defensive coordinator.

(A team was awarded 10 points for having a minority head coach, 6 points for each minority coordinator, 3 points for each minority position coach, and 1 point for each minority assistant position coach)

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Michael Rodney

Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for over 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2004. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey and covered the Philadelphia Eagles for WTXF-TV. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published, and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.

6 thoughts on “Packers Not Winning On Diversity

  1. Ironically, the Packers were actually a lot more diverse in the 90s. Ray Rhodes, Sherm Lewis, Emmitt Thomas, Reggie McKenzie, and Alonzo Highsmith were all in positions of power.

  2. this is inadequate, and, any winning season, even a Super Bowl win, must be seen and judged in the larger social and cultural context. it is past time for affirmative action in Green Bay.

      1. It says something about the quality of your readers that there aren’t more of these comments. If this post was on Facebook, the comment section would be filled with people like Ron.

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