NFL finally fostering opportunities to bolster diversity among leadership positions

ATLANTA — 

As an NFL running back — and the son of a legendary one — Ran Carthon learned from an early age how to scan a situation and squeeze through an opening.

Monday, a different kind of daylight.

Carthon, pro personnel director for the San Francisco 49ers, was among more than 60 participants in a first-time NFL program aimed at fostering opportunities for minority candidates who hope to lead franchises.

With a few exceptions, each NFL team sent an aspiring coach and general manager candidate to the league’s annual May meeting, creating opportunities for them to mingle in a more casual environment with club owners and people in charge of making hires.

The two-day event, deemed the “Coach and Front Office Accelerator,” is intended to provide senior women and minority prospects leadership development sessions with football operations experts and facilitators, as well as networking time with team owners. The effort is designed to continue building a diverse hiring pipeline.

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It’s a relatively small step, but one that could help break barriers and further forge relationships among the future coaches and GMs.

Jonathan Beane, NFL senior vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, talks about what the league hopes to achieve for minority and female head-coaching and front-office candidates.

“The important part is to get in front of the owners and let them get to feel you as a person,” said Carthon, who had a brief NFL playing career and…

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