Magazine article Ebony

Outside the Lines in the NFL: African-Americans Tackle Key Roles in the Front Office

Magazine article Ebony

Outside the Lines in the NFL: African-Americans Tackle Key Roles in the Front Office

Article excerpt

ART SHELL Senior Vice President of Football Operations and Development for the NFL

Shell manages all football operations and development, including regular-season and post-season, NFL Europe League operations and the NFL Officiating Department. A former tackle for the Oakland-L.A. Raiders, he's an NFL Hall of Famer (1989) who became the first Black head coach in the NFL in modern times.

GENE WASHINGTON NFL Director of Football Operations

Still at the top of his game, Washington supervises fines and suspensions for players who get too physical on the field. His current position is the icing on the cake of a career that includes being an All-American receiver at Stanford University and a player with San Francisco 49ers and the Detroit Lions.

THEY wear Armani suits and carry briefcases instead of wearing jerseys and catching footballs. Unlike the players, their work is done outside the lines, tackling day-to-day operations in the executive suites of the National Football League, helping to regulate and determine the action you see on the field.

Some of them are Hall of Famers; some have juris doctorate degrees from Harvard Law School, and all have extraordinary talents that have helped the NFL become one the most successful and respected organizations in sports.

On these pages is a representative group of those who are at the top of their game in the NFL hierarchy. "These are the guys who run the top show," says John Wooten, president of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, an advocacy group named after the first Black NFL coach, which promotes hiring minorities to the front office.

HAROLD HENDERSON

Executive Vice President for Labor Relations and Chairman of the NFL Management Council Executive Committee

Henderson, who is responsible for player and labor relations, oversaw the creation of the NFL Players Programs, which provides assistance to players in the areas of financial planning, continuing education and post-career business opportunities. He also oversees salary caps, and he expanded the free-agency rule for players. Henderson is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Michigan State University.

MICHAEL HAYNES

Vice President of Player and Employee Development

Haynes oversees a number of programs, including career internships, financial education, continuing education and personal assistance. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997, Haynes played in the NFL for 14 years, was named to nine Pro Bowls and earned a Super Bowl ring with the L.A. Raiders in 1983.

OZZIE NEWSOME was the first Black person in the NFL to hold the title of general manager. His current title is GM/executive vice president for the Baltimore Ravens. Newsome, a tight end for the Cleveland Browns and a Hall of Famer, is also credited with being the architect behind the Ravens' Super Bowl XXXV championship in 2001.

BOB WALLACE is the St. Louis Rams' executive vice president and general counsel. …

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