Playing diversity football
Also startling for the league was the Mehri-Cochran demand that teams lose first-round draft choices for failures on the diversity frontier. The $200,000 fine levied against the Lions, and the $500,000 maximum for what the Lions did, are chump change to owners. Draft choices, however, are another matter.
So the league buckled with blinding speed, averting the suit and the draft-choice issue (at least for now). The mandatory interviews with black job candidates got most of the publicity, but those three committees will have a lot more to say. The settlement, if that is the right word, with Mehri and Cochran sets up monitoring programs and diversity structures that may hobble owners and management for years to come. That was the pattern in the racial settlement at Texaco, arranged in part by Mehri. Antipreference leaders Ward Connerly and Edward Blum called the bias claims against Texaco "specious," but the company settled for $176 million and many questionable diversity programs--such as tying executive pay to cooperation with diversity goals--rather than face a boycott and a tide of bad publicity.
Fast Company magazine reported that Mehri "is determined to reshape the companies that he sues" and that his settlements "often include substantial changes" beyond what a judge might impose. Does the NFL understand it is about to be reshaped?