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Cardinals fumbled timing of naming new GM on MLK Jr. Day

These guys just don’t get it, do they?

The Arizona Cardinals have announced the hire of a new general manager, Monti Ossenfort. Good for him, and if he’s successful, good for the team.

But when Cardinals team president Michael Bidwill discussed his job search a week ago, he mentioned interviewing two internal African American candidates, and he talked up a diversity training program, designed to groom minority applicants for these types of jobs.

And then he hires a little-known white guy?

And the news comes out on Martin Luther King Jr. Day?

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C’mon, guys. Don’t we still have pro-diversity messages on helmets and in end zones around the league? Has anyone been paying attention, at all?

There is a massive perception among Black professionals that when we get an opportunity for a high-profile job, the goal posts move.

This feeds into that frustration since Quentin Harris and Adrian Wilson, the team’s acting general managers, are both Black and were passed over for a job that has traditionally gone to internal candidates.  

Also, Bidwill serves on the league’s Workplace Diversity Committee. If he doesn’t want anybody from his own program, what does that say about it?

In his defense, I probably would have passed on Harris and Wilson, too. I believe each has a chance to be a strong general manger, but for another club. The Cardinals need to bring in outside experiences to shake up a culture that, at this point, borders on incestuous.

But what about Jerry Reese? Louis Riddick? Or any of the guys who have been through the previously mentioned diversity program?

It’s pathetic that the news leaked on MLK Day and that the team felt compelled to make it official, rather than have everyone just wait until Tuesday morning.

It intercepts what could be a very positive development for a franchise that seems motivated to improve its recent fortunes.

Of course, this could foreshadow a move to hire Brian Flores as head coach.

Flores, who is Black, should receive the bulk of the credit for the success of the Miami Dolphins this season, given his role in building that club before being fired after winning eight of his last nine games as coach in 2021.

He should be a leading candidate for any head coaching vacancy.

Flores and Ossenfort have a connection through Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, and that’s a braintrust that knows a little bit about winning Super Bowls. (Does this mean Tom Brady might be on the way to give Kyler Murray more time to heal up?)

Ossenfort’s resume looks fine. And he might be the best candidate out there.

But given the NFL’s diversity problems, the news shouldn’t have come out on Martin Luther King Day.

It feeds into the perception that these guys just don’t get it. 

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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