Cronkite School to host special event discussing diversity and media in the NFL

Panelists include Troy Vincent, Herm Edwards, Marvin Lewis and William C. Rhoden

Collage of portraits of Herm Edwards, Marvin Lewis, William C Rhoden and Troy Vincent.

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University will host “On The Clock & In the Media: Race, Hiring and the NFL,” a panel discussion focusing on the complex challenges in the NFL.

The free event will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 7, at the Cronkite School’s First Amendment Forum, on the second floor of the Cronkite building, 555 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. It will also be streamed online. Seating is limited, and early registration is encouraged. Register here.

The panel will feature Herm Edwards, ASU football head coach; Marvin Lewis, ASU football special adviser to the head coach and former Cincinnati Bengals head coach; Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president of football operations; and William Rhoden, Cronkite School visiting professor and renowned sports journalist.

Cronkite School Dean Battinto Batts Jr. will moderate the discussion. 

The panelists will discuss what improvements NFL teams should make to their hiring practices to bring more diversity into its head coaching ranks and how the NFL can move forward. 

The panel will also examine the role the media plays when showcasing various diversity challenges within the NFL. Sports journalism is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the media industry, and journalists play an integral role in highlighting these issues.

In 2021, more than 70% of NFL players were people of color, according to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. However, just five of the 32 NFL teams currently employ head coaches of color. 

The panel will feature two former NFL head coaches, as well as an NFL executive who played in the league.

Edwards, a former NFL player, has coached at the professional and collegiate levels within the past 20 years. He was hired as ASU’s football coach in 2017 following nine years as an NFL analyst for ESPN. 

Lewis joined the ASU football team in 2019 as a special adviser. He also served as an interim defensive backs coach at the end of the 2019 season and co-defensive coordinator in 2020. Lewis has more than 25 years of coaching experience in the NFL.

Vincent has more than 20 years of NFL executive experience after a 15-year playing career. In his current position, Vincent’s responsibilities focus on the business of football, including game analytics, accountability, integrity of the game, development and growth, and policies and procedures relating to NFL games.

Rhoden is a visiting professor at the Cronkite School, writer-at-large for Andscape (formerly The Undefeated), former award-winning sports columnist for The New York Times and author of “Forty Million Dollar Slaves.”

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