From the NFL’s Rooney Rule to India’s reservation policy, schemes to improve BAME life chances have proven controversial. But have they been successful?

The sacking of two American football head coaches in 2001 – Dennis Green of the Minnesota Vikings and Tony Dungy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – left only two black NFL head coaches out of 32, and prompted black and ethnic minority voices within the sport to demand change. This led to the establishment of the widely admired “Rooney Rule” in 2003.

Named after the late Dan Rooney, former owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the US’s ambassador to Ireland during Barack Obama’s presidency, the regulation requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for all head coach and general manager roles. Its impact has been one of the defining features of the NFL over the last 15 years.

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