A Woman’s Worth: Does the NFL Need More High-Ranking Women?

Jul 18, 2011; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers president Jed York (left) and Oakland Raiders chief executive officer Amy Trask at 2011 NFL 101 All-Access at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

As James Brown once crooned, “This is a man’s world/But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing/Without a woman or a girl.”

ESPN’s Ashley Fox published an article yesterday about Amy Trask, the former Oakland Raiders CEO. After 16 years running the team’s non-football related activities, Trask quietly resigned this month. She was the highest-ranking female executive of an NFL team, as well as the only woman to be CEO of an NFL franchise.

Fox went on to state out that the loss of Trask in such a high-ranking position is a loss to the Raiders and the NFL as a whole, as there are only a handful of women in executive positions in the NFL. However, she reveals that Trask did not (and still does not) like talking about her gender because she doesn’t think that it is something important.

But should it be?

The article lists only three other women that hold executive positions in the NFL: Owner/Vice Chairman of the Board Rita Benson LeBlanc of the New Orleans Saints, Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones Anderson of the Dallas Cowboys, and Executive Vice President Katie Blackburn of the Cincinnati Bengals. What is interesting about these other women, too, is that their fathers (or in LeBlanc’s case, grandfather) all own (or owned) the teams for which they work.

Now, there are quite a lot of issues that I take with the article. First, I see why the author chose to focus on Trask’s gender for the article, but that is exactly what Trask herself said she does not like to do. Rather, Trask would like to be judged on her performance and abilities as an individual, not a woman. Ok, that’s all fine and good, but the article doesn’t do that either. Fox doesn’t touch on any of the accomplishments or shortcomings of Trask as the CEO of the Raiders.

But I see what the article was trying to do: the lack of women in the NFL is certainly an interesting issue, especially after what happened with the Rooney Rule at the beginning of last season.

Allow me to bring your attention to the hotly-debated Rooney Rule. Established in 2003, the Rooney Rule’s purpose was to bring racial diversity in head coaching and senior football operation jobs in the NFL by requiring teams to interview minority candidates. The league was under intense scrutiny this year because of its eight available coaching and seven available general manager jobs, none of the positions went to a minority candidate. But again, the rule requires the teams to interview minority candidates, not necessarily hire them.

So given the even smaller amount of women than minorities in high-ranking positions with the NFL, do you think there needs to be a similar rule for interviewing women, perhaps named the “Trask Rule”? Is the lack of women a problem at all? If so, would such a rule solve the problem?

Let me know what you think in the comments, Hubsters!

Topics: Amy Trask, Oakland Raiders

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  • Matt Miller

    I think a ‘Trask rule’ would be a good idea for the NFL to adopt. You can’t determine who needs to be hired, but bringing awareness to the issue is the desired effect. The Rooney Rule wasn’t effective this time around, but it’s failures this offseason could give opportunities the next time. There will be some deserving women who don’t get hired, but the noise they make will help other women gain entry into these exclusive, lucrative jobs.

  • Crusader10

    To hire someone just because of their race, sex, or skin color is as stupid as NOT hiring that person for the same reason. The hiring should be the BEST PERSON FOR THE JOB. Period.