Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan might not get a look as a head coach because of his long hair. On the surface, it might seem short-sighted or petty that teams wouldn’t consider him because of his look. After-all, the same teams employ players with long hair, tattoos, and other curious fashion choices. But I think it is defensible.
Not hiring somebody based on race or religion is an issue. But not hiring somebody based on their personality or appearance is not. Especially in a position of power and leadership.
Rob Ryan can obviously coach. The Saints defense improved from record-breakingly bad (32nd) to 4th overall in yards allowed this year. Much of that credit should go to Ryan.
Just because you can coach, doesn’t mean you can or should lead. Appearances do matter. You can dress and look how you please when you are working in the trenches. If you aspire to manage, lead, or control however, how you look, how you dress, and how you sound matter. Like the old saying goes, you dress the part and look the part.
Maybe it’s not fair. After-all, Bill Belichick dresses pretty sloppy on the sidelines. I’d argue he’s gotten less glamorous the more he’s earned the right to look how he pleases. In other words, if he wasn’t winning, it would be more of an issue.
Rob Ryan is free to wear his hair long as long as the Saints and other teams want to hire him as an assistant. If he wants to be a head coach, he may need adjust his appearance to satisfy the people hiring.