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January 17, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC, January 17, 2012 — The Fritz Pollard Alliance has created the Paul J. Tagliabue Award of Excellence in honor of the former National Football League Commissioner and longtime Covington partner and senior counsel.
The award goes to a league or team executive who demonstrates the integrity and leadership that Mr. Tagliabue showed in developing career opportunities for minority candidates and advocating for diversity on the league and club level, the alliance announced.
“I am extremely honored that the Fritz Pollard Alliance has created this award in my name to recognize the League’s accomplishments on these matters,” said Mr. Tagliabue. “It has been very rewarding to collaborate with John Wooten and his colleagues at the Alliance to promote diversity and equal job opportunities in the coaching, front office and scouting staffs of the NFL.”
The alliance cited Mr. Tagliabue's influence in 2002 on the formation of the league's first diversity committee of owners, chaired by Dan Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Within two months, a diversity plan was introduced that mandated each NFL team interview at least one minority candidate before hiring a head coach.
Mr. Tagliabue joined Covington in 1969, advising domestic and international clients and litigating complex cases, primarily in the antitrust area. He also served as principal outside counsel for the NFL. He returned to the firm’s Washington office after serving as NFL Commissioner, from 1989 to 2006. Mr. Tagliabue currently plays a leading role in the firm’s Strategic Risk and Crisis Management practice.