Paul Tagliabue and Jim Hackett - moderated by Warde Manuel discuss the intersection between sports and social policy. November, 2017.
[ Applause ]
>> DEAN MICHAEL BARR: Good afternoon.
I'm Michael Barr, the Joan and Sandy Weill Dean of Public Policy at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
With me on stage today are our distinguished speakers, Paul Tagliabue, Jim Hackett, and Warde Manuel.
[ Applause ]
I am going to give you lots of chances to clap as I introduce them individually in just a moment.
I want to say a special welcome to University Vice President Jerry May and our other distinguished guests. We are honored to have you all here.
And, of course, it is a tremendous privilege to recognize our guest of honor, philanthropist, civic leader, Jay Ira Harris.
Ira's son, Jonathan, is here with us as well.
[ Applause ]
Let me just say, the generosity of Ira and his wife Nicki has deeply strengthened the University of Michigan. Among their many gifts over many years, the family created the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Professor of Public Policy at the Ford School, and the Harris Center for the Study of Corporate Finance in the Ross School.
They've demonstrated their love for U of M athletics, too, with a gift to renovate the football locker room and a gift to support students, facilities, and the football program.
In their honor, our football coach's full title is the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach.
But it goes back even further. Thirty years ago, in 1987, a young Jim Harbaugh graduated from Michigan and was drafted by the Chicago Bears. He was a young man, headed out into the world, into a big city, for his first professional job.
His coach, Bo Schembechler, called his good friend Ira Harris, who lived in Chicago at that time, and he asked Ira to look out for Jim.
Ira, with his trademark warmth and generosity of spirit, did just that and a lot more, starting with opening a bank account for the young graduate that helped Harbaugh ride out the rough months before he'd get his first pay check.
And now, thirty years later, Coach Harbaugh is, of course, the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach. Generosity and warmth come full circle.
On behalf of the University of Michigan: Thank you, Ira, for the love that you and your family have shown to this great institution.
[ Applause ]
It is in honor of Ira that we've put together today's event on sports and social policy. It's no secret that we live in challenging times, times of divisiveness and rancor in our public dialogue, our politics, and our communities.
All too often, our elected leaders seem only to reflect those divisions back at us ?? or, worse, to foster and to deepen them.
At the Ford School, we're committed to helping rebuild civil, bipartisan, inclusive dialogue. A civil discourse based on the values that our namesake, President Gerald Ford, cherished.
Our students today train in public policy analysis, in ethics, and in leadership. They want to make an impact in the world. You could say they major in making a difference.
And they learn to listen.
We're launching a series of events at the Ford School that will bring people who disagree with each other together for respectful, productive dialogue. And in my view, sports can help that conversation.
Colin Kaepernick took a knee.
Many followed this fall.
Muhammed Ali. Billie Jean King. High School players and cheerleaders this year.
Jerry Ford and Willis Ward in 1934.
Throughout our history, sports has been a locus for protest, an impetus for change, the spark for conversation and dialogue.
Sports can serve as a unifying force. It can help us come together as a country, to be patriotic by fighting racism, and sexism, and bigotry.
Throughout their lives and their careers, our three speakers have embodied and practiced that value.
Paul Tagliabue's career in sports began in Jersey City where he was a star basketball player in high school. On scholarship at Georgetown University, Tagliabue led the team in rebounds for two consecutive years, was captain in his senior year, as well as class President.
Paul went on to earn his J.D. and practiced law for 20 years, serving as counsel to the NFL.
In 1989, Paul became NFL commissioner.
Under Tagliabue's leadership, the NFL prospered.
When Paul stepped down as commissioner in 2006, an NPR host said that, quote, "Mr. Tagliabue is regarded as the best commissioner of any sport of all time."
An important part of that success was his abiding commitment to the values of equity and inclusion. Tagliabue moved the Super Bowl away from Arizona after the state refused to acknowledge Martin Luther King, Jr., Day as an official holiday, for example, and following his NFL leadership, Tagliabue has advocated for strengthening the educational mission of college sports as part of the Knight Commission and contributed to the Civil Rights effort of parents, families and friends of lesbians and gays.
Paul, I want to thank you for being with us here today.
[ Applause ]
Jim Hackett was born just west of Columbus, Ohio.
[ Laughter ]
And despite that, views his Midwestern upbringing as central to his identity.
Jim earned a degree in finance from the University of Michigan after playing on the Michigan Football team as a third?string offensive lineman.
Then?head?coach Bo Schembechler once told a dispirited Hackett that he was too slow and too small to be a starting center.
I think that's right.
>> JIM TACKETT: Yep. Pretty accurate.
>> DEAN MICHAEL BARR: Yep. I mean what he said, not the facts.
[ Laughter ]
But Bo went on to say that his contribution to the practice squad was invaluable.
Hackett went on to serve that team in that role with pride.
After college, Jim joined Steelcase, the storied Grand Rapids based furniture manufacturer. Working his way up the ranks to become CEO, Hackett would eventually make Steelcase into one of America's most admired companies.
In the press, Hackett's name is nearly always printed next to words like, "visionary," "innovative," "transformational."
After retiring as CEO in 2013, Hackett returned to the University of Michigan. As interim Athletic Director, Hackett made the blockbuster hire of Jim Harbaugh and ignited a new era in Michigan Football.
We at the Ford School also want to personally thank Jim for his decade?long service on our Committee, and for helping us to tell and to honor the story of President Ford's commitment to diversity, openness and inclusion.
After departing Michigan Athletics, Jim became head of Ford Motor Company's "Smart Mobility" division, and then Ford named Jim Hackett as its CEO.
So he's a pretty busy guy.
Jim, thank you for being here today.
>> JIM HACKETT: Thank you.
[ Applause ]
>> DEAN MICHAEL BARR: And finally, our moderator, University of Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel.
Like Jim, Warde played football here at Michigan under Bo.
Warde went on to get an MBA and a Masters in Social Work here at Michigan as well.
He co?authored path?breaking articles in sociology and in psychology on the role of diversity in athletics.
He's remembered by our faculty from that time as a brilliant researcher who was clearly destined for big things. And he found his path here at Michigan.
He rose through the ranks of the University of Michigan's athletic department, rocked it as AD at SUNY?Buffalo and UConn, and then the University of Michigan welcomed him back home in 2016.
One of his first moves as athletic director here at Michigan got little attention but it set a tone and was emblematic of his principled leadership.
It turns out that, from 1973 to 1991, women who earned varsity letters from Michigan were given a lesser version of the classic letter jacket than men received. No leather sleeves. No iconic block M.
For years that had been a sore spot for many, a reminder of past inequities.
A plan to rectify the situation was hatched in part by Jim Hackett. And just weeks after his return, Warde and his team pulled it off. Over 700 women received proper letter jackets, many of them hand?delivered by current student athletes.
Warde, thank you for your leadership.
[ Applause ]
>> WARDE MANUEL: Thank you.
>> DEAN MICHAEL BARR: And with that, let's get started. I am going to get off the stage and, Warde, the floor is yours.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Thank you, Michael.
Thank you all for being here today.
And I want to join Michael in thanking Ira and also his better half, Nicki, for their generous support of not only this series, but of Michigan, Michigan athletics. It's people like Ira, his family, now Jon, who make Michigan a better place.
And I just want to join in thanking you, Ira, for the support of this series.
Please give him a round of applause.
[ Applause ]
I want to start the conversation today with Jim.
Since we are here at a Ford school program, I have benefited from hearing you tell a story of President Ford and his relationship with his teammate, Willis Ward, and how the relationship really shaped President Ford's views on social policy.
As someone who is a friend of President Ford like you were, you were able to hear firsthand about their relationship. So could you talk about the friendship between Ford and Ward, what their friendship tells us about the power of sports, and lastly talk about the jersey design element that you worked with Nike to symbolize what they mean to Michigan.
>> JIM HACKETT: You bet. And it is an honor to be here, to be here with the Harris' and my friend Paul Tagliabue.
This story has been told a lot, and there is a part you don't know, and the part is it actually starts with my dad, who played for that school in Columbus. He was an All American in 1944. Later helped Paul Brown bring the Bengals to Cincinnati. And when I was a kid ?? I was the youngest of four boys. We were in a town that was very diverse. I was on teams that were highly integrated. Felt really natural to me.
And my dad's best friend from college would come by. There were two of them. One was white. One was black.
The black man Paul will know. His name was Bill Willis. He was really arguably maybe the first NFL drafted ?? there is an argument whether it was a defensive back or Bill. First black player drafted.
And Bill ended up becoming head of the Ohio Youth Commission. Had a great career. And my dad one day was telling me the story about how they roomed together on the road, and they went south to play a game, and they weren't going to let Bill stay in the hotel.
And so my dad decided to leave the hotel as well and refused to play the game.
Turns out the coach got involved. They didn't settle it for Bill. They got my dad back in the game.
And I grew up with this standard in my head about my father.
I come to Michigan, and part of the program here. I graduate. I do all the things that Michael said so kind about me.
And I am hearing this story about President Ford.
And it is a story about President Ford ?? there was only one black player on his team in the thirties named Willis Ward ?? (phone ringing) I apologize.
And Willis goes to the game. I don't want to pick on the southern school because, you know, that is not fair either.
They go south. And they won't let him play in the game in the thirties.
President Ford is the captain of the team and he quits. And he refuses to play the game because that is his best friend. He roomed with him on the road as well.
And you can't imagine how stark that was that it hit me that these two people I had such admiration for, my father and Gerald Ford, were both in this setting.
And as I was athletic director, I thought how would I have handled that? You know, did I have the soul and the spirit to stand up for one of my teammates like that?
I wish I could say that.
I never was confronted with that, fortunately.
But I thought the history of that is too important, and it is too important for two reasons.
If you play the sport, in your life, where there was an integrated team, you wouldn't trade that for anything, because no matter what you read, or you feel that if you weren't in that, there is no more community than that team together.
There is no divide.
There is no light between racism and patriotism.
These are just your teammates.
And we were designing the jersey for the new Nike thing, and one of the things we wanted to do was to have a uniform ?? what we call design language across the university.
Before this initiative with Nike, the strategy by sport was different. Each coach kind of designed their own system.
We wanted to have one system, and we happened to look back at the picture of Willis Ward and President in their team picture.
It is very important because there is all these white players and one black player, and President Ford as the captain is sitting in the center.
His number was 48.
And his four has a little hat to it; in other words, it doesn't point. It actually tips to the side, and just coincidently, the four is pointed this way, 4?8, and Willis Ward is right here, and it is pointing to his roommate. And I am staring at that, and I go, there is a really important message is that I grew up having two people tell me this story. How do I tell that story to every teammate that is here at Michigan?
One thing we could tell them is that we kept that four to tell the story that when you are on a team, the highest sense of participation is you don't think of yourself. You think of the person that is next to you.
And so that four is pointing to his teammate.
So we made the decision to make that the standard in all sports.
And my dream was that the young people on campus would hear that story.
And then they would tell, as seniors, they would tell the freshmen of why that four points to your teammate, and the underpinnings of what it meant about diversity and inclusion in its day when it was not easily mediated, that it was highly controversial.
So I am inspired to even tell you that, and I appreciate you asking me that story.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Well, thank you for sharing it.
It always ?? it really teaches us all, I think, about the importance of people in your lives, regardless of the color of your skin, and how you defend and protect.
So thank you for that.
As Michael talked about, sports are at the heart of many policy debates in our history that don't directly relate to athletics.
In the fifties, it started with the Civil Rights Movement, and a Michigan alum, Branch Rickey, brought Jackie Robinson to integrate major league baseball.
In the seventies, there were ?? Title IX was enacted into law and the great Billie Jean King and other women led the right for equal rights.
Now we have a debate over first amendment rights versus disrespecting the flag.
So, Paul, how much has and how much will sports continue, in your opinion, to influence social policy and/or law and/or politics?
>> PAUL TAGLIABUE: Well, you asked me that question yesterday and I said it was complicated, and I repeat the same thing today.
[ Laughter ]
You know, I can't tell.
I think sports have had an enormous impact on diversity and inclusion and on relationships with each other whatever race, color, creed, et cetera.
And I start by thinking about John Thompson at my alma mater, Georgetown.
The only thing we have in common as basketball players is that we wore the same number. And my number is retired. It's in the Hall of Fame. But it only got there after he wore it.
[ Laughter ]
But he had such an enormous impact on the Georgetown community and on the District of Columbia, our nation's capital, because of what he stood for in terms of accepting people on their merits, demanding the best, his focus on education. And so I have to start by saying I think athletes and sports can have an enormous positive effect on communities, starting with the community at Georgetown.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have to ask yourself why it took the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for some institutions to start hiring in the professional ranks black athletes, and some educational institutions having black athletes, student athletes.
I was amazed to see some statistics recently, some fact sheet recently, that said that the first African?American athletes in the Atlanta Coast Conference were at the University of Maryland in 1966. That is four years after I graduated from college, two years after the Civil Rights Act was passed, twelve years after Brown versus the Board of Education. We still had no black athletes in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and I am not picking on the Atlantic Coast Conference.
So in some ways I think of the issue a little more broadly than athletes.
Think about entertainment.
Think about Harry Belafonte.
Go back and think about Paul Robeson and Fritz Pollard, who were two great college football players in 1918, 1919, 1920. Fritz Pollard was a black coach in the NFL in the first, second and third years of the NFL, 1921, 1922, but it wasn't until 1946 that we had Paul Brown bring players into the All American conference, including Bill Willis, who I think played for him when out of high school.
>> He did. He did. He played with him at Ohio State and then with the Cleveland Browns as well.
>> PAUL TAGLIABUE: Yeah. So in some ways, I look at Jackie Robinson coming in in '47 in baseball, black athletes in the NFL in '46, was that because the military became more diverse during World War II?
Did they produce that outcome?
Fast forward to the Civil Rights Act.
Was it because of Wilma Rudolph in the Rome Olympics in 1960 or was it because of other forces in society?
So, you know, we are all woven together in the best of circumstances in America.
That is the melting pot.
That is our society.
So what I try to say, was it Joe Louis or was it something else? Was it the military? Was it Truman's Executive Order in 1948 that produced the flood of players from Grambling and other places and led to Duffy Doherty at Michigan State had that most amazing draft in the history of the NFL. Four of the first eight players drafted in 1967 were African?American kids playing for Michigan State. It's never been repeated anywhere in the NFL.
So that's a long?winded way of saying I don't know the answer. But I do know that we need to keep working at it.
We need to keep providing an environment and creating environments, which is what I think my successor, Commissioner Goodell, is doing now with the NFL players, trying to figure out what is the institutional model that enables a sports league to have its athletes be leaders in society on tough societal issues. That is not what leagues are designed to be, but he is working at that and I commend him for it. And that is the opportunity we have. And I think the young men today, and women, are better prepared to be leaders in society than ever before. And so I think we all need to make sure they have the resources and the institutions to give them the opportunity to do what they are doing in an environment where celebrity is not always an asset.
We learned that ?? some people learned that in the last presidential election where, you know, celebrity is resented. And sometimes for good reasons because sometimes it is hollow.
But celebrity is not the key to the kingdom.
Hard work, good ideas, and institutional support is the key to the kingdom.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Great answer. And, Jim, you have lead now ?? this is your second time leading two multinational companies, and so when you think about what is going on in sports, does it have an impact in the corporate world?
>> JIM HACKETT: It does, but can I add one thing?
>> WARDE MANUEL: Yeah, please, go ahead.
>> JIM HACKETT: Well, Warde would not brag about his daughter, who is a second year med student here, and it brings to mind when he was giving you those dates in the sixties, you and I ?? you as athletic director, me as the athletic director, and Bo Schembechler would have told us that there was a flow of talent north, you know, because people could play, you know, unimpeded.
And then, Paul, I learned that Michigan had ?? and I am sorry. I should have more respect for her name. There was an African?American woman, first doctor graduate from Michigan in 1876, which is only 12 years after emancipation proclamation, which is pretty stark if you think about how profound that is here at the University of Michigan.
So universities ?? this ?? I am sharing the insight about why I wanted to be here when I came for a lot of other great reasons.
I was seeking out that diversity that I grew up with in Ohio.
I wanted to come to a university where it was highly regarded, and I am not ?? I would have to say, President Schlissel has done such a wonderful job of getting at the heart of the issues here on campus about how people feel about diversity, and I see some regression there, you know, that is hard to hear and hard to see, and the students say they don't feel at times included and I know we are working on that.
But the business side of this, I am proud to ?? I would say, in addition to that number four, a second thing that I would like to share is when Lee Bollinger was President here and we were in the midst of the Supreme Court case, there was a group of us ?? President Ford, in history went to the generals and asked them to write a letter to the Supreme Court Justice O'Connor about the power of diversity in the military, and Paul has some stats that you should hear today about that.
And back then, the President ?? these generals were saying, without diversity, we would be nowhere.
This is back in the Supreme Court case of Michigan.
I got a group of CEOs together.
We got 150 CEOs to sign an amicus brief to confirm that there was no way we could compete without diversity.
So we need the flow of graduates.
Okay. Now, with that kind of pounding our chest, there is some bad news.
I was just sharing with Chan Tagliabue a study McKenzie did on women at large that progress through business, so we still don't have enough women CEOs.
I know them all, almost, in the Fortune 50.
They are about 17% of the population of CEOs today.
They have 52% of the population.
Women of color are 3% of the CEO population, so it is like nonexistent.
And so as proud as I am of business' ability to be broad minded in that citation about the Michigan case, what is it about the women and women of color that we haven't addressed?
So, you know, we are working really hard on that, and it starts with the principle of you have got to get ?? instead of ?? I mean, it is okay to recruit people from each other, so companies will go out and recruit diverse talent from Ford to come to be in their company.
You know, I am not in the way of that.
That is free trade.
But I think it is a bigger commitment to grow the capability.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Grow the pipeline.
>> JIM HACKETT: Yeah, and so why I asked Warde today, how can I get a sense of the women athletes here at Michigan, women of color athletes that are destined for business, and I could do a better job of helping them see the potential careers that we have.
So I want you to see we made progress on one level and we are still behind in others, so I think there is an incentive here to be better.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Yeah. I will have those names of those ladies ??
[ Laughter ]
?? in front of you. We will start the internship program, the Ford Motor Company Michigan Athletic Department Internship Program.
We will start that next week.
>> JIM HACKETT: Start working that.
[ Laughter ]
>> WARDE MANUEL: You know, let's stick for a moment ?? because technology is impacting us all in a very significant way, and you are at the center of it, even at Steelcase. I remember when we were building the academic center, the Ross Academic Center, and you were talking about how you were looking at design and technology. You were in charge ?? now you are in charge of the entire company. You were in charge of autonomous vehicles before.
So I am going to take this away from sports for a second.
And really, from a policy standpoint, since we are here at the Ford School of Public Policy, what are some of the things that you look at as you look at ?? I am going to develop these autonomous vehicles.
What are the policy implications that you deal with and you talk about and think about as it relates to our society and how to move us in that direction?
>> JIM HACKETT: Well, because my check comes from Ford Motor Company, I am going to answer sincerely the objective that we have, but I also want to talk about why I am sitting here with you and Paul, and a way to think about that challenge.
The Ford Motor Company principle is that these are rolling computers and they are very sophisticated.
In fact, I am just on a fast company video where the guy interviewed me for an hour about that, and you could see it, but it is ?? the ability to comprehend how complex these machines are going to be is something we have never seen in our lifetime, okay?
Because the power of the deep learning algorithms for the machine to learn ?? the way I explain it is these vehicles will be on a street one day and a mitten is in the street, and it has to know that there might be a child nearby because that is the way we would think.
The next day, imagine a baseball rolls in front of it. It has to know, again, that there is an association, there might be a child.
The third day it sees a leaf and it stops.
That would be a mistake, right?
But it started to learn that anything in front of it that wasn't pavement or a person ?? excuse me, a stop sign or something like that, that it could move.
So you have to teach it what it can and can't do.
So just hold the thought how profoundly challenging that is, and Ford has got a really great leadership position in it, and the commitment we are making is we want people to go in because they trust us.
So I am fond of saying that a lot of people still won't fly. Even that is safer than being in a car today, because they feel at that height and altitude or the, you know, feeling closed spaces, they don't trust it.
So we have to get people to believe in these kinds of these kinds of capabilities in a way that they will trust Ford, so I am really committed to that.
But the deeper thing is when I said a moment ago would I have stood where President Ford or my father did, I believe I would have, but you see, that chance ?? that challenge at that time was just a concept called access. They just wanted to be able to go in the same rest room or the same hotel room.
It seems to our kids, you know, I can't imagine a world like that. But now they have a new challenge, and the new challenge is that the supply chain for software is not diverse.
So the tech companies who I hold in highest regard, you know, in the way they form their businesses, they don't have nearly the kind of diversity. So we have sent a message to them that says if you want to supply us, we need you to understand these jobs, because in the day when Jesse Jackson, who I know quite well, had to lay on the freeway in Chicago when it was being constructed so that he could get the contractors to be diverse, he had to stop traffic, we have got labor in our workforce now that is diverse, but there is no one laying in front of the software code. Do you follow?
>> WARDE MANUEL: Yeah.
>> JIM HACKETT: And so I am trying to think of ways with the university, myself, how can we start to do something like that and so technology, Warde, is now the next domain where we have to open the doors because that is where all the jobs are going to be.
And this product that I just told you about is going to create, in some estimates, an $11 trillion new part of the economy because the vehicles and the environment are both going to be smart, and that all has to be invented and created.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Yes.
And, Paul, I am going ?? you know, you spent, what, almost four decades associated with the NFL, probably still connected.
Technology has changed quite a bit in that time frame, and technology around sports.
Can you talk a little bit about where we are now compared to where it was towards the end of when you were Commissioner, and where you see it going, and how you see it influencing not only professional sports but college sports in general.
>> PAUL TAGLIABUE: Yeah.
I think the biggest change in the last 12, 15 years since I left is in medical science and in scanning technologies.
And, of course, all of this relates to the concussion issue, which is not just a football issue.
It is an issue for most sports.
It is an issue for the military.
And I think it is clear that, you know, starting in 1989, 1990, when I became Commissioner, I would talk to team physicians and they were concerned about concussions but they couldn't tell you what was going on. They couldn't tell you how to diagnose them. They couldn't tell you how to set ground rules for return to play and things like that.
And now we have made a tremendous amount of progress in those 25 years since 1990 but we are still adolescents. We are still in the early stages of really understanding what to do.
But to me that is a huge positive in terms of what is happening with medical science.
In terms of the game, itself, the technological innovations that I think are important have to do with the playing surface and with the equipment. So, you know, the technology that produced artificial turf or synthetic turf, however you want to call them, I think is really important in terms of knees and ankles and the body.
There are other things that Jim would know because he probably looked at film from Kodak and he didn't look at an iPhone for his play book.
[ Laughter ]
But those things I think are at the margin, but the biggest technological impact on sport is how it is delivered to the fan.
And I think that has been positive beginning again around 1985, 1990. We went from broadcast television to subscriber supported television, cable, satellite, Internet, streaming, but my concern now is that things are being called sports that have nothing to do with sport or with the values of sport.
I read about eSports, and it is not sports.
[ Laughter ]
The only physical activity is pushing keys.
[ Laughter ]
It is not getting out there and being challenged physically, emotionally, psychologically.
I used to say football was the ultimate form of contrived adversity.
[ Laughter ]
And it is.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Yeah.
>> PAUL TAGLIABUE: And the other sports, hockey and basketball, they all have their elements, so I am concerned that more and more of our young people are being taken by technology away from the values of sport and some of the benefits of sport in terms of sport is a microcosm of life.
You win or lose.
That is what life is about, getting yourself better and better, and doing it against competition that is demanding.
I think that is a real value, which student athletes in the traditional sports are getting.
I am not sure that when we go to eSports it is going to be the same benefit.
And then, of course, we have the bigger issues of combining sport with education, which are a challenge for our society.
But the delivery of the product is both a benefit, and I am not so sure it is an undiluted benefit.
>> JIM HACKETT: You and I would be able to share instantly what we learned about the range of how we could push ourselves when we played for that coach we played for.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Right.
>> JIM HACKETT: And I feel that when I am jet lagged in China and I am tired on my job.
[ Laughter ]
>> WARDE MANUEL: You hear the old man yelling.
>> JIM HACKETT: I hear him saying ?? in fact, I had him ?? very close to Bo, of course, and I had him in Steelcase go through some factories and, of course, he stopped work, million square foot factories. And everybody wanted to shake his hand, and it was a really hot day. And we had a golf cart for him, and we are taking him around. And a couple of the guys said, hey, coach, we want to take a break.
And he goes, Hackett will go down before I do!
[ Laughter ]
>> WARDE MANUEL: And you probably would have.
>> JIM HACKETT: So I remember that when I am tired.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Yeah, yeah.
>> JIM HACKETT: But the message in that fun is what Paul just trumpeted, which I thought was wonderful, is the nature of competition.
The nature of competing as a country, as a company, as a football team really matters, you know, if you want any kind of life, I think.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Right.
You know, Paul, you and ?? you would probably not find this hard to believe.
We have a very competitive and championship level eSports team here and our engineering students and ??
[ Laughter ]
?? the School of Information make up that team, so we are very proud of that.
[ Laughter ]
Even though I agree that ??
>> PAUL TAGLIABUE: I saw a blurb for a conference being held by some sports marketing group recently saying, what every university needs to know about eSports.
And given my own lack of technological sophistication, I forwarded it to the President of Georgetown with a note saying, what in the hell can eSports have to do with the mission of universities?
And he sent back an email right away saying, you and I are having lunch on Friday the 17th and I will tell you. It's a lot.
[ Laughter ]
So I am ready to be educated.
>> WARDE MANUEL: I will leave him to educate you on that.
[ Laughter ]
So you lead ?? you both have led, and you still lead a major corporation.
In addition, Paul, you were Chair of the Board of Georgetown.
So I would like ?? and I will start with you, Paul.
How has participation in sports impacted the way you view your leadership efforts with your company and around social policy?
>> PAUL TAGLIABUE: Well, take the last piece first.
I think that ?? as a student athlete at Georgetown, I heard the word leadership hundreds of times every week. And accountability hundreds of times every week.
You got to be accountable to yourself, to your family, to your teammates, to the university, to the community.
And that is still the case.
I know it is true at Georgetown.
It is true at Michigan.
It is true at the great universities where student athletes are competing today.
And I think that gives you a sense of how much you have to learn and how much you have to experience in order to be a leader in society because accountability and leadership are not things you can go into a five and dime store and buy.
They are things that you develop over the years.
But that set a set of goals for me for my life, which I think were really important.
When I was at Georgetown, started as a math major.
I can assure you, if I had not been a good basketball player, I never would have been admitted to Georgetown as a math major.
[ Laughter ]
And after one semester it was confirmed that I was not going to be a math major.
[ Laughter ]
And I ?? the Dean called me into his office, and I thought he was going to tell me I better start looking for another school because I am flunking out.
That is not what he said.
He said to me, you are having trouble in the first semester because you are in an area where you don't have the right background, you know, calculus and physics.
He said, you are capable of being a Rhodes scholar.
I know that.
And at that time, Georgetown had not had a lot of Rhodes scholars. This is 1958?59.
And he said, here is what I want to you do in order to be a serious Rhodes scholar candidate. He gave me about six things I was to do on my academic side.
And he also said, you are going to be a hell of a stronger student than you will ever be a basketball player.
So he made it clear I was not going to the NBA, let's put it that way.
[ Laughter ]
But just to listen to that Dean, who was a Jesuit, and have him say, you have the potential to dream a wild dream and to achieve it, and I couldn't believe it.
But in my senior year, there was a big game Georgetown played in Madison Square Garden, which the Hoyas won, and the next day in the Washington Star, the headline was, Tagliabue absent, Hoyas win, as if there was a cause and effect relationship.
[ Laughter ]
But I was at an interview that weekend for a Rhodes scholarship.
I came within that much of being a Rhodes scholar.
So that one experience teaches you, don't sell yourself short, but more importantly, it tells you what you have to do to prepare to be a leader in society and to care about the community and the communities in which you live, which is your local community and also your nation.
So I think sports are indispensable in the proper context.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Right.
And how did that ?? when you talk about that experience, how did that affect you when you became the leader, the head of the NFL, of ??
>> PAUL TAGLIABUE: Well, for one thing, I think leadership is at all levels of the organization.
It is not just at the top.
Everyone in the organization has got to see himself or herself as a leader.
And if you can get that into your culture, you know, that is phenomenal.
The other thing that I believe ?? and I mentioned this to the students at lunch today.
I have two expressions that I attribute in part to sports.
One is, if it ain't broke, fix it anyway, because you can always be better, no matter how good you are. And you learn that in sports. The two forwards may be great. The two point ?? the point guard and the center may not be so great. Well, don't pat yourself on the back. Make everyone better. If it ain't broke, fix it anyway and do it together.
And the other one is have a high tolerance for conflict, because it can be a positive attribute of any organization, and you learn that from sports.
It is what Jim alluded to.
Competing makes you better.
And being required to compete at a very high level is a blessing.
So I think those things that you learned in sports ?? and you can learn them in other arenas.
You can learn that in music. You can learn that in other parts, but sports have a unique combination of physical, mental and emotional, and then you take that and try to apply that to your organization. That is how you are a leader.
>> WARDE MANUEL: That is good points.
I am going to use that first quote.
I loved that.
Jim, how about you?
How do you see sports defining, helping to prepare you to be a leader?
>> JIM HACKETT: Well, you heard some of the spiritual things I gained.
I would say what I would love to share is growing up in a family of four boys, and my dad, you know, athletic, it was two?on?two everything.
And so I ?? and the humility that I actually learned in sports and in that family that, you know, if your head got too big, your brother was going to knock it off.
And then when you played in the kind of program we did where everyone was so good and so talented, that you learn the humility of why you need other people to be successful.
I think that is probably something I carried forward because I ?? one of my big challenges as a brand?new CEO ?? and this is a friend that I know Paul had ?? is Bill Marriott, is that I got ?? there is three jobs I have had where I wasn't the destined CEO.
You know, I wasn't destined to be the AD at Michigan.
I wasn't destined to be the CEO of Ford or Steelcase.
Something happened, and they asked me to step in.
So when I stepped in at Steelcase, because I was running a startup before then, I had this caricature in my mind what a CEO had to be.
And think of it as, you know, they got a cigar and they are chomping on it. They are barking orders. Everybody wants to do what they ?? that wasn't me.
But I felt like I was as competitive as that person, right?
So I go to see Bill Marriott ?? C.K. Prahalad, who was a professor here at Michigan, connected the two of us. And both were family companies, Marriott and Steelcase, and both were finding themselves at a stage where their evolution of the business was challenging the history.
So I said, Mr. Marriott, I said ?? I went to DC to see him.
I said, you are like ?? I want to talk about Steelcase, but it seems like your challenge in the hoteling business is simple. And this is back in '94.
I would just build hotels all over Vegas, you know, gambling and all the money.
I mean, I had forgotten that his faith, he is Mormon.
And he looked at me and he says, we don't believe in that.
And if I could picture for the young people the peace that he had in his eyes when he said that, I thought, I want that.
I want to be a CEO that says I can't do that, and you see the peace in my eyes.
And so my life has been about trying to find that.
And I think I have.
I mean, it is the caricature of design and network?based teams versus hierarchal, so I kind of blew up kind of the older ways that companies were running ?? now it isn't as advanced because if you were in a startup or you worked in Silicon Valley, this is the norm.
Well, think of what sports taught me if I was going to end up running a company with lots of teams and competitive spirit, and the way that no one individual is more important than the team, and things that you and I heard.
It served me supremely well.
As I look at it today ?? so now I know I am getting old, right?
And I see the evolution of sports and I think ?? so they are celebrating the individual more, you know?
And I like the entertainment part of that, but I think about ?? and I tell myself, have room for that in your head because maybe that is just the fun, and really behind the scenes there is this tightness.
So I think that matters in companies as much as it does on the field.
What you think about, with that four pointing at your teammate, do you really need them.
And as a CEO, it doesn't change at all.
You need your team as much as they need you, or you won't be successful.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Right.
It is a ?? you know, sports, if I can interject, I think really to your last point, really teaches you about the importance of others, which impacts the importance within ?? not only to organization but outside the organization, those ?? that community that surrounds you, the importance of being a teammate in the larger sense to the community, to the country, to the world kind of a thing.
>> JIM HACKETT: Which is interesting in the current context of our ?? the discourse.
The three of us sit in judgment of the conflict and go, gosh, why can't we act like a team?
I mean, that is kind of the thing I feel.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Right.
>> JIM HACKETT: Boy, that would be great.
Let's don't split up.
Let's come together.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Right, right.
We are going to have time for some questions from the audience in a few minutes. Just prepare you guys to think about questions. I want to get to a couple other questions, and then we will open it up to you all.
Journalism outlets and television networks are increasingly challenged by how to separate, particularly in my world, sports journalism and political editorializing.
Where is the line between sports and politics, if there is such a thing?
What should be the role of sports media in covering some of the civil rights issues that we see in our country today?
>> JIM HACKETT: Well, and this would be my muse on that, so when I was athletic director, I would think the way he ?? the way Paul Tagliabue ran the NFL was my target. Integrity, the clarity of purpose, the advocacy for others.
So I am going to let him answer that question because he is the guy I would follow in the way he thinks about the way the press and sport come together.
>> PAUL TAGLIABUE: Well, I am going to answer you, but before that, because you said we are going to go to questions from students, and I want to say, point of personal privilege, that for me to be here, at an event in honor of Ira Harris, is really special.
And I am going to tell you a journalism story about Ira Harris.
In 1989, some of you old folks will remember, the NFL owners had a recommendation that another individual should be the Commissioner, and they reached an impasse. And that person essentially withdrew.
And then the then Commissioner, Pete Rozelle, was called upon to manage the process, to start all over again, to come up with some new candidates.
And as I recall the situation, Rozelle told his head media guy, make sure there are no leaks as to who is going to be in the next group that we are going to consider.
So immediately there was speculation that Paul Tagliabue, then an unknown attorney in Washington, was one of the leading candidates.
And the NFL's media guy was told by Rozelle, put an end to that rumor.
So Joe Brown is the person I am talking about, and he told the media that there ?? it wasn't Tagliabue. It was a dark horse candidate from Chicago.
[ Laughter ]
And off the record, I can tell you his name, but don't say you got it from me because Pete is really serious about keeping this quiet.
His name is Ira Harris.
[ Laughter ]
So I am told that Ira got a flood of phone calls from media, and he said, me? You must have the wrong phone number.
But he was my cover for about two or three weeks.
[ Laughter ]
And I think when I went to the interview with the search committee, the search committee thought I was going to say Ira Harris.
[ Laughter ]
But anyway, I think, you know, part of the answer to your question is what are the fans interested in, and part of it is what are the media companies trying to do for audience?
And I think the fans like the story that makes the king a little more human. And sometimes that gets off into politics.
So Michael Jordan, does he view himself as a role model?
Well, he viewed himself as the greatest basketball player ever, but is he a role model, and role model for what?
So sometimes it ?? the subject of sports naturally leads you into politics.
Jack Kemp's running as the Vice Presidential candidate with Bob Dole in 1996, so now all of a sudden we have a nexus between sports and politics.
In the current environment, it is all that much more complicated.
We own the NFL network. As owners of the NFL network, do we want to report as another news organization might on some sexual assault charge?
Our people are taught to be marketing football.
How do you create a second organization which is about news, news with integrity?
I can see similar issues at the conference level where the conferences have networks.
So you have to ?? Jim used the word. You have to really pay attention to integrity and understand what the public expects and what you expect of yourself in terms of candor and what you are delivering.
And then when you get into social media, as we are learning, it seems like it is all about celebrity. A lot of it is about celebrity and politics, but it is also about hearing from the public instantly.
So it is a completely different process.
It is like the old ?? what we used to learn in political science was plebiscitary democracy. Used to have a hypothesis. What if everyone in the public could be polled on every issue? Well, that is where we are.
So the nature of the technology, I think, is really making this into a complicated question. And then put on top of that, what are actual sources and what are counterfeit sources.
There is some information coming out now suggesting that some of the dissension that was fomented around NFL players kneeling was coming from websites that were connected with Russia.
So ?? so fake news infecting sports.
Now, I don't know if that has been documented now or not yet, but that is the question people are beginning to ask. It wasn't just about elections. It is about the fans don't like this player because they think he is, you know, too arrogant or pushing too hard on a certain social issue.
So where you draw the line is almost impossible.
And then I think news organizations are putting more sports on the front page than ever before.
It used to be ?? you know, Pete Rozelle, my predecessor, used to say we have the greatest business in the world for one simple reason.
Newspapers all over America are in four parts.
National and general news is part one, national and international news.
Part two is metro.
Part three is business. It covers hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses every day.
Part four is sports. It covers the four of us: Football, basketball, baseball, and hockey. That is a good business to be in when you got one?fourth of every newspaper covering your business.
Well, that is no longer the way it is.
That is a huge change in journalism and a huge change in society.
>> JIM HACKETT: You know, Warde, as you go through the questions, I draw this in the air. A chart I use that I borrowed from a guy named Bob Galvin who was at Motorola. Ira would know Bob. And he was working on pagers in China, and he had really high market share.
So they lost half the share in a very short time.
He came up with this chart which as the curve goes up on the top, which is the ability to make something better.
So think of newspapers became better with computing, you know, in terms of the way and speed of data.
But the curve that is difficult is the understanding of what humans need or what their use is.
It is called a design gap.
So what I have been thinking about in your role is the speed of information that, when Paul was a kid, and I was a kid, we would open a newspaper, because we couldn't go see all the baseball games.
You could listen to the Cincinnati Reds on the radio, but you read the box score and you actually kind of played the game in your head reading that, right?
Now it is streamed.
And so there is an example where the speed and access to data is like this.
But now what has happened to the fan in terms of what information do we need to give them?
So a dream I had is what can we put in their hands inside the stadium or on their phone that is only resident there so that part of your ticket is some sort of intimate thing.
And we did some work together.
You remember our trip to northern California. We were playing with ?? since we had the helmets already connected, could we have the fans actually hear the play called before it was run? And we have a time delay or something so they can't, you know, alter the outcome of the game, but that is the design opportunity in the future, is there is new ways to make the games with technology have speed of information. It doesn't change the sport, but changes the fan participation.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Yeah. You know, Nascar ?? is similar to what Nascar is doing now, selling ?? being inside the vehicle, inside the pit row with the drivers and those kinds of things.
>> JIM HACKETT: Right.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Last question before we go to the audience participation. Michael touched on it a little bit in his introduction.
Obviously, it is out there in terms of Colin Kaepernick and kneeling and what is going on in the NFL. What has happened on college campuses. High schools even.
You know, how ?? you guys have any thoughts on how schools, leagues should respond when people choose to ?? I may add my opinion ?? rightly so take their first amendment right to protest.
What is the appropriate response from leagues, from colleges, from high schools, those kinds of things?
Any thoughts about ??
>> JIM HACKETT: Well, you know, I am in a different role, but I would tell you ?? I watched Jim Harbaugh deal with Colin's situation because he was ?? Jim knows the quality of person that he is.
And at first ?? and I know what kind of patriot Jim is.
At first he didn't like this, right?
And then he came back and said, I think Colin deserves the right to express himself.
And then more recently, asked about some of the conflicts said, if you look at the constitution, this is a basic right, you know.
So I was really proud of my coach here at Michigan.
But when you all hear that, what I want you to think about is here is a man whose intimacy in managing a player, knowing what that player's life has been like, what he has dealt with, has a good sense of the pulse of what the team members are going through.
And they are my compass here to understand how they are feeling and how they are motivated and how they are guided by their sense of what's right and wrong.
And I find this thing about football coaches ?? they are not perfect, but if they are really committed to their team, they get to the right spot there.
You know, it is like it gets them to the right spot.
So listen to my football coach and he says, this is an important thing for our players right now.
I also, as the CEO of Ford Motor Company, know constituents who worry, you know, that patriotism is being shifted, and that is why I said a minute ago, there is no light between those two subjects because I don't want to pick one over the other.
I believe in both of them.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Right.
>> JIM HACKETT: So I am very fond of what I have learned watching ?? and this was the point ?? of the way those players were feeling.
It made me ?? I think, am really with it and understand it.
My sensitivities went up about what I didn't really understand.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Right.
>> JIM HACKETT: And then I am glad the way the country is starting to resolve it in their arm?in?arm like we have in Michigan and their honoring the flag, and that would be my message to the high school kids is find a way for people to understand how you are feeling, and respect for your country, and I think there is a design that works like that.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Right, yeah.
>> PAUL TAGLIABUE: You know, I still feel this way.
I tell young people very often ?? they ask me, what's the most important quality that I can have if I want to be successful?
And normally I say listening.
In all contexts.
And stop talking.
I used to be in meetings at the NFL ?? this was the early days of Blackberry. And I would be in meetings, and young people on the other side of the table, all they did was talk, my own employees, and I started sending them messages and say, shut up and listen.
[ Laughter ]
And then they would come out of the meetings and say why were you so rude?
I said, when you talking, you are only repeating what you already know. When you are listening, you might learn something new.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Right. That's a good point.
>> PAUL TAGLIABUE: So listen.
And I learned over many years at the NFL, listening to the players is a really important thing. That is how we got collective bargaining agreements done that produced labor peace for over two decades when there had been labor strikes for almost two decades. We listened and took seriously what the players had to say about what kinds of systems would be mutually advantageous for the owners and for the players.
So I have learned that these young men need to be listened to. I have also learned that they know what's going on in their communities and with their families.
I used to travel around the world to military bases with NFL players, Jerome Bettis, Michael Strahan, players like that. They are the ultimate patriots. They grew up in military families. It's true of most NFL players.
You probably never heard of Warrick Dunn. Maybe you did.
>> Tampa, right?
>> PAUL TAGLIABUE: He is not as well?known as Jerome Bettis, because Jerome is in the Hall of Fame. He's in Chicago. Warrick Dunn, his mother was a police officer. She was killed in the line of duty.
He has financed over 150 homes for families who have had a mother or father killed in the line of duty.
That is the kind of people we are dealing with.
They know what is going on in their community.
So listen to them.
That's a starting point.
And understand that they are patriotic, which they are.
Don't start the conversation with them by calling them son of a bitch.
That is not going to be constructive with football players.
[ Laughter ]
It is not constructive with most people.
[ Applause ]
It is not constructive with me.
You know, and I never played football. But if you call ?? start a conversation with a football player and say, look, we got a problem here. I want to solve it with you, and now two things I have got to say to you. First of all, you are a son of a bitch and, second of all, the only solution is mine. That is not going to produce a long conversation with a football player.
Not going to gain a lot of respect either.
So understand who these people are and why they are doing what they are doing is the first thing.
The second thing is to understand that we do have a first amendment in America.
And what it requires is the government to stay the hell out of regulating speech.
[ Applause ]
>> WARDE MANUEL: Right.
>> PAUL TAGLIABUE: You know, that's important.
And so what does it mean?
It means that you can say what you think.
I can disagree with you.
We can argue.
He can't shut us down.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Right.
>> PAUL TAGLIABUE: That is not America.
So that is the second thing.
So where does that lead you?
It leads to the school systems have to deal with it at the high school and junior high school level.
Universities have to deal with these issues at the university level, and the sports leagues have to deal with it at the professional level.
And there is room for difference of agreement.
There is no single answer.
So Adam Silver has been dealing with it in one way in the NBA.
He had programs with his players going back to last season, and he is continuing them, and he has told them they have to stand during the anthem.
Commissioner Goodell has been trying to walk a tougher line and he has set a tough challenge for himself and for the players in the NFL.
How can we make it clear to all of the public, not just some of the public, that we are respectful and patriotic while at the same time focusing on these underlying issues of justice and the criminal law system and in other parts of society?
Sports leagues and teams are not designed to be advocacy organizations.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Right.
>> PAUL TAGLIABUE: You know, it is hard enough for the NFL to produce some spots for the United Way on non?controversial things.
So I give Commissioner Goodell a lot of credit for taking on the hard challenge, which is to be respectful of the public and families with men and women in the military who lost family members, respectful of the divergence of views we have in America on these issues, but to deal with the underlying substance of what these players are trying to accomplish.
And I would say that the players, you have a unique opportunity right now.
Your protests have been heard. That is shown in the polls. More than 50% of the public is saying, we support the players.
That was not true a year ago.
Same polls a year ago, less than 50% were supporting the players.
But you have made your point. Now move on with actions. Actions will speak louder than words.
[ Applause ]
And I think ?? as I am reading the newspapers ?? and that is all I do.
I don't have access to the players directly.
But Michael Bennett and others last Thursday night, they said this is Veteran's Day weekend. My dad was in the military. We are going to stand. We have been kneeling up until now.
So I think they understand that they have protested.
That the public has heard them. The owners have heard them. The Commissioner has heard them.
Now we have to have actions that will be louder than words going forward including bombastic and divisive words.
The actions will be louder.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Good point. Please.
[ Applause ]
And I will give recognition to Mrs. Ford.
I mean, she is one of the owners who stood up with her players in supporting some initiatives to really make a difference in our community in Detroit, in the surrounding areas, and in their home communities. So with great leadership like that by her, I just want to recognize that as one of the solutions.
>> PAUL TAGLIABUE: I read about that, and it was terrific what she did and what she said and what she is doing to support the players.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Yeah, yes, it is.
Now, I am going to turn it to questions, but I must say I sit on the Board of the Women's Sports Foundation.
I did have a question about the 45th anniversary of the Women's Sports Foundation.
And I don't want to get killed by Billie Jean King when I go to the next meeting, so if there is not going to be a question from the audience, I will end with that one, but I do want to turn to the audience, and I see we have someone ?? some people up here, so please, go ahead.
Introduce yourself and ask your question.
>> Thank you.
My name is Anna Zinkel, I am a current master's student here at the Ford School of Public Policy, and it is such a privilege to hear from three leaders who have so profoundly impacted the athletic industry and far beyond.
So we are going to switch to reading some questions that have come in from members of the audience and online through Twitter, and my classmate, Jai, who will introduce himself in a second, and I will go ahead and read through some of these questions.
Anyone who would like to answer is welcome to do so.
So our first question comes from someone in the audience who says: As a current student athlete in the Ford School, this topic is near and dear to my heart.
As former athletes yourselves and men of power within the athletic industry, what advice would you give to athletes today given the political strife that we are facing?
Do we remain silent or fight and risk giving up the sports that we love like Colin Kaepernick?
>> PAUL TAGLIABUE: Well, I think you have got to fight, but you have to do it in the right way.
You know, if your goal is to galvanize the public in support of a point of view that you are advocating, you need to pay attention not only to those are already with you, but to those who are not yet convinced.
And so that means you have to strike a balance. You have to ?? you have to understand what it takes to grow your constituency.
And in the way this present issue that I just alluded to has been presented, unfairly I think, it has been presented as an issue between patriots and unpatriotic people, which as I said is erroneous. It's a fiction. It's versed on a fiction.
So I think you need to be strategic. And you need to recognize the limitations of a sports organization, and I will say it just in two respects.
What would the NFL do at any time during a telecast ?? forget about the anthem for a moment. Suppose it was during a time out. And two players stood up on the side line while the coach is talking to the quarterback, and two players stood up on the side line and one said, Reverse Roe v. Wade, and the other one said, Fund Planned Parenthood, and all of a sudden the networks are showing that to the nation.
Would you say that is okay?
Of course not.
That is their job.
If it was Monday morning, the next day, or Tuesday, which is their day off, when one guy wants to go out with his wife and support one side of the issue and another guy wants to go out and support the other side of the issue, fine. Encourage them to do it.
Part of my problem with the criticism that has been leveled at the players is for so many years, when I was Commissioner and since I have been Commissioner, I used to hear, these guys are just dumb jocks. All they do is play football and make a lot of money. And they get criticized for not being engaged on societal issues.
Now they are engaged in societal issues and all of a sudden people say shut up.
And it is on societal issues that they know a lot about because they have been there in those communities.
So I think that they need to be engaged, but you can't do it in all circumstances.
It is true of employees of a university.
A professor can't go into a classroom and start off and say, I got five minutes. I want to tell you about Black Lives Matter, and then I am going to get to my lecture on Aristotle and Plato.
The Dean would hear that and say, well, wait a minute. I am all for free speech but not while you are teaching that class.
So I think it takes a little bit of nuance and it takes a lot of thought as to what is appropriate and what is inappropriate.
Even the tempting thing is to take the biggest and widest platform that you have and use it.
That is not always the right answer.
>> WARDE MANUEL: Let me just real quick answer your question.
I have told our student athletes here, and everywhere I have been, you have a right to your first amendment to speak or protest about which you have to do, but I don't have a right to ?? I have a right to defend your first amendment, but you have to defend and figure out what you want to make a difference in and be able to talk about that more than just the symbolism of taking a knee.
That we have to educate people.
We have to have ideas.
We have to have thoughts about how to solve it and resolve the issue.
And part of that is the educational piece that if you are going to do that, if you are going to stand up or protest in some way, you have a responsibility to teach others and to tell others how they can help society be better around that particular issue. Not just by the symbolism of taking a knee. That is the easy thing to do, to protest, to silently protest during the flag.
My father was a sergeant in the Army.
I don't care how mad I get about something in this country, I am not going to take a knee.
I tell them that.
But I will find a way to make sure that we are trying to resolve and solve problems that I believe need to be resolved and will help them as student athletes.
And so I want them to fight.
But taking a knee is not necessarily the fight.
It is a symbol of your frustration or anger or what's challenging this country, but that's not the fight.
[ Applause ]
>> Thank you for the answer to the first question and good evening. My name is Jai Singletary, and I am also a first year masters of public policy student at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
And the second question reads ?? and it's from an audience member ?? what are your thoughts about the lack of black leadership roles within the NFL, and what steps can we take as a nation to create a more diverse and inclusive environment within head coaching jobs in the NFL?
>> PAUL TAGLIABUE: Well, first of all, my own personal view is that we have had, in the NFL, and Gene Upshaw, who was the head of the Players' Association, one of the most important black leaders in the history of sports and, for that matter, in our society ?? which comes back to the first question we were talking about. He not only was a very tough and successful head of the NFL Players' Association, he was a member of the Executive Council of the AFL?CIO for over two decades. Heavily involved in the labor movement and fighting for coal miners and others who are part of the AFL?CIO Federation. And I think he is one of the most ?? has been until recently one of the most underrated African?American leaders in our society.
I say until recently because I understand there is a major piece of an exhibit at the new African?American museum in Washington on the Mall honoring Gene Upshaw.
I am sure that Jim and Warde can talk about African?American leaders in business and higher education.
So I think we are making progress in the NFL.
Just like most of society, it is not fast enough.
With respect to the coaching issue, what I hear as I go around the country is the requirement that we had in the NFL which is called the Rooney Rule whereby, when you are hiring a head coach, or evaluating head coaches for a hire, you have to interview at least one minority candidate.
It is mandatory.
More and more businesses are doing that.
It gets to be complicated legally because some legal critics say it is a preference that is affirmative action that is impermissible.
And I know at the university level there has been a lot of discussion through the NCAA and with Athletic Directors and Ray Anderson at Arizona State and others.
Could it not be adopted as a mandatory NCAA rule for all the university members in the NCAA like the NFL did. I think the answer, that is an oversimplification of a more complicated problem. So I think the NFL ?? I participated in a conference about a month ago where the Rooney Rule was being discussed as a requirement that Boards of Directors should have when they are selecting new Board members, but it is having an impact way beyond the NFL.
Is it perfect?
Is it a very positive step?
I think, yes.
And I think it is a credit, not just to Dan Rooney but to the other owners and the Commissioners who are making it work, because it works only if you spend a lot of time preparing people for interviews and developing the talent pool.
If you don't do a lot of support work, the mandatory interview is a sham.
If you do the support work, it is not a sham. It is a real positive in terms of employment.
And a lot of what we learned as we led up to adopting the Rooney rule we got from Colin Powell, who was an innovator in terms of how general officers were evaluated ?? candidates to be general officers in the U.S. Army were evaluated and chosen. We modeled a lot of what we did with the Rooney Rule on Colin Powell and what he did in the military. And I am happy to say others are now emulating the NFL.
>> JIM HACKETT: I would just, in a parallel way, talk about business. And say in my lifetime ?? you know, I am in my sixties ?? what you would witness in business is there was a serial movement to train all the people that had power about diversity. So you heard me talk about the U of M was a leader in terms of the case here around the law school and diversity.
And I got to witness ?? and I remember being young and going with all majority people to learn about diversity, you know, to learn ?? in fact, they need to dust off the sexual harassment teaching, you know, and make sure people that have been trained on that.
What has come at the other end of that is it is a better world. So I work in a company now where social justice is held in high regard.
You heard about Mrs. Ford.
Bill Ford, who is our chairman, is kind of legendary in the force of social justice in areas ?? for example, he was way ahead of others on the environment, when industrialists didn't want the echo of pollution to be talked about in their company. And he actually led, in a way that was just unbelievable, a reform, because I was in west Michigan and he was kind of my hero, that he was able to do it and I was trying to do the same thing.
More recently, he spoke at TED in 2011 about if we cut and paste the transportation system and put it in China, it would kill the world because the nature of vehicle population can't get that big.
I am just telling you the anecdotes because I want you to think about social justice in a broad way.
And so people of color are definitely an important aspect of that.
And my head ?? you heard me earlier saying women of color really deserve an enhancement of consideration to get the flows better in so many parts of our world and our life, and I am taking on the business question.
So I would say to you, feel really good about it, but I sit back in days and say, what is the barrier now if I didn't think it was racist, you know, because ?? and I did a lot of work studying the difference between values ?? so values are the things, when you going into a company, they say this is the things we hold dear. And one test for values being robust is if they leave any group out, then they can't be a value.
So color was added but there were homophobic people in companies, you know, or transgender, against that, so companies had to update their value system to not eliminate anybody because it is ?? as a box, it is supposed to have all people have equity.
Okay. For a moment, let that stand that it is better as you are coming out of college and you are wondering, did the business world get better?
What I am beginning to think about is a concept called ethos, and if you look it up in Wikipedia, it is the character which actually changes over time. So imagine we are back in the, you know, 200 years ago.
All the business people were sitting in a room and they had slaves and they weren't having any conflict of conscience.
I don't want to indict everybody, but you know what I mean.
It was ?? the character of a business was you had that low cost labor, virtually ?? it wasn't no cost, right? They had to support them, but it was an awful notion in the way that a business was run.
What I have been saying to myself is, of course, you know, we are way ahead of that today, but what is the thing 100 years from now they would look at me and say, you were silly that you held. And I think the issue here is the businesses, they transcend country boundaries, you know. There is more vehicles sold in China by a factor of two, almost, than are sold in America today.
So our business isn't bigger in China but some of our competitors have bigger businesses in China than any western market.
So imagine that their headquarters are in western cultures, and all your customers are in Asia. I think we will look back one day and say, jeez, we didn't get that part totally right because we had to think about our stories and our narratives in a way that our Asian customers felt a sense of equity and the character of who they were was coming through our business.
So Ford is really diverse.
It is all over the world.
It is like you just wouldn't believe it.
I mean, when you come to our meetings, it is like you are at the United Nations.
I am so proud of that.
And the reason I am working on the ethos part is now do we understand that our markets are going to make up a bigger portion of consideration than we ever imagined?
And I will come back some day and talk to you about that.
>> WARDE MANUEL: And I am looking at the time, and we have to wrap up, but I do want to go back to Paul's response and give him and Jean and the work that he started, the NFL actually is a leader in preparing, having particularly head coaches, general managers, comparatively at higher percentage than we do in Division I intercollegiate athletics and we are better than Division II and Division III.
And so there is a lot of credit that is given to Paul and his efforts to really not only prepare but to actually hire and put head coaches and general managers, minorities, and black, and we are getting to the point hopefully one day ?? I know there is some women particularly in a GM role, assistant GM role that are being cultivated in that sense.
I see someone in the audience. And I had a professor, Dr. Charles Moody, who told me something years ago, and I think to try to sum up some of the last few comments, he said, it is not just about mentorship. It is about preparing people and sponsoring them for leadership roles.
To prepare them to take on the next level.
To be hard.
To make sure that we develop and build a pipeline.
And ladies and gentlemen, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for that with Bill Martin sitting in the audience today.
He saw something in me that I didn't see in myself at a time when I didn't think ?? I was not thinking about becoming an athletic director.
I was still thinking of maybe one day teaching in research and those kinds of things, and sort of up in the air.
And he gave me a shot and challenges and pushed me in ways that I didn't think I needed or wanted to be pushed.
And so I see him in the audience.
I just want to thank him personally because ?? because of him, back in 1999, I sit in this chair today. And I think we need to recognize that there are many that these two gentlemen have touched in their role, prepared to go on to leadership and responsibility. Many lessons that they talked about.
And so I will close by thanking Michael and the Ford School, but please join me in giving Paul and Jim a round of applause.
[ Applause ]
>> Thanks, Bill.
>> Thank you all for coming.
>> Thank you.