Paul Tagliabue honored for promoting diversity

Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue was honored this week for his efforts to promote diversity in hiring in pro football.

Tagliabue, now the chairman of the board at Georgetown University, his alma mater, was given the ROBIE Humanitarian Award by the Jackie Robinson Foundation. A ceremony was held earlier this week in New York.

The organization said that Tagliabue was honored for his commitment to diversity, inclusion and education.

Tagliabue formed the NFL’s diversity committee and helped enact its minority interviewing rule, widely known as the “Rooney Rule” in honor of Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney. The rule initially required each team to interview at least one minority candidate for a head coaching vacancy and now applies to key front office positions as well.

“I can’t speak for everyone, but for Mr. Tagliabue as commissioner to go out on a limb and break down some walls for me and other minorities in all sports, I can never thank him enough,” New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese said in a written statement. “He more than deserves this award.”

Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.

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