Since former Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians hired Jen Welter in 2015, the National Football League has opened its doors to more women who want jobs in football. The league held its third annual Women’s Careers in Football Forum in February in which select coaches sat in front of 40 or so women who were given the opportunity to ask questions and gain insight into how to further their careers in the college level and the NFL.
Washington Redskins head coach Ron Rivera has been one of the coaches on the panel for the past number of years. While attending the conference in 2018, Rivera met Jennifer King, a former part-time coaching intern for the Carolina Panthers and wide receivers’ coach for the Arizona Hotshots in the Alliance of American Football.
Rivera’s decision to hire King as a full-time coaching intern for the Washington Redskins made history as King was the first African American woman to be hired full-time in the league.
“Jennifer is a bright young coach and will be a great addition to our staff. Her familiarity with my expectation as a coach and my firsthand knowledge of her work ethic and preparation were big factors in bringing her to the Redskins,” Rivera commented.
Rivera is a firm believer in the fact that women possess the same abilities as men and gender alone shouldn’t be a barrier for entry in any field. Many women, like King, have a ton of experience but are overlooked for being female. “She’s a unique individual. She coached women’s college basketball and won a national championship. She’s played football. She loves the game…here’s a person who really wants to put herself out there and create that opportunity.”
The NFL is beginning to really address its diversity issues and Ron Rivera is a trailblazer in the fight to get more women involved. We commend Rivera and hope to see NFL coaches and back-office executives make hiring decisions like his.