M&S Speaks Out About America’s Game

May 7, 2021

by M&S Staff

Cyrus Mehri Congratulates Industrial Psychologists on NFL Player Assessment Test

Football player catching M&S Partner Cyrus Mehri is proud to have collaborated with Dr. Harold Goldstein, Dr. Ken Yusko, and the NFL on the NFL Players Assessment Test (NFL-PAT), the first assessment instituted league-wide to measure the comprehensive set of psychological competencies required to be successful as a player. He, along with the NFL, is thrilled that the Society of Industrial/Organizational Psychology selected Dr. Goldstein, Dr. Yusko and their team as the winners of this year’s M. Scott Myers Award for Applied Research in the Workplace, the leading practice award in the field of applied psychology.

Mr. Mehri is especially pleased about the ways in which the NFL-PAT helps combat bias in player evaluation:

Cyrus Mehri “The PAT is a state-of-the-art psychological tool that has influenced the NFL player evaluation process. Particularly important to me is how the PAT effectively minimizes racial and socioeconomic bias, since it is an objective metric that measures player capabilities such as conscientiousness and decision-making, without regard to their personal background.”

Mr. Mehri applauds this award as deserved recognition of the scientific rigor and overall success of their efforts to develop the NFL-PAT. Since being introduced in 2013, the NFL-PAT has created a new framework for players to shine and for teams to evaluate player prospects in a non-biased manner. Unlike some previously used psychological evaluations, the PAT has been scientifically shown with rigorous validation studies to effectively predict future on-field performance of NFL draftees.

The NFL-PAT project does a great service to the field of industrial psychology by taking established scientific concepts and bringing them to the mainstream, and Mr. Mehri is pleased that Dr. Goldstein and Dr. Yusko were selected as the recipients for this year’s M. Scott Myers award.

Read the full press release here.

PODCAST: An Oral History of the Rooney Rule

Jeremi Duru on GSM podcastNPR’s Karen Given released an oral history of the Rooney Rule, which aired on the Global Sport Matters podcast in February. The three-part series, “The True Origins of the Rooney Rule” — which featured M&S Of Counsel Jeremi Duru, Partner Cyrus Mehri, as well as former Fritz Pollard Alliance Chairman John Wooten — takes a deep dive into the Rooney Rule while also providing a window into race in America and what a tenacious foe racial discrimination is.

Ms. Given, former host of NPR’s “Only a Game” starts off Part 1 by looking back in time to 2002, when the NFL and owners agreed they needed to improve the hiring of head coaches of color. But it was Mr. Mehri and Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. who came in from the outside to push for reforms and started by releasing the report, “Black Coaches in the NFL: Superior Performance, Inferior Opportunities.” Mr. Mehri notes in the podcast, “Fast forward today it’s the only report that resides both in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and in the African American [History] Museum.” Part 2 and 3 of the series delve into the Rooney Rule’s impact over the past 18 years and where we go from here.

Listen to Part 1, Part 2 or Part 3 of “The True Origins of the Rooney Rule” here.

Speaking Out for a More Democratic Union in the NFL

M&S Partner Cyrus Mehri was interviewed for ESPN’s investigative reporting on the inner workings of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and dissatisfaction with its current leadership. The article does a deep dive into what happened behind the scenes of the contentious collective bargaining agreement that the NFLPA and the League agreed to in 2020.

The investigative report brings to light the dissatisfaction that many players feel with the way the union is being run. Many criticized the current executive director of the NFLPA for disempowering players, punishing dissenters, and changing the NFLPA constitution to protect himself from electoral challengers.
Mr. Mehri was also a special guest on the Dan LeBatard Show where he called for the creation of a more democratic union in order to better serve the needs of players:

“I think the country is evolving. You see that with the Fight For 15 movement, you see the vast majority of people want to see fair wages. People want to see a level playing field and they want to see fairness. But what you have in this situation is that the players were disenfranchised by their own leadership and until that changes, they are never going to have a fair shake.”

Read the full ESPN article here. Listen to the Dan Le Batard Show episode featuring Mr. Mehri here.