Brian Flores sues NFL over discrimination


Photo Courtesy of photo-gator

On Feb. 1, ex-Dolphins head coach Brian Flores sued the NFL and three individual teams for alleged discrimination and racism in hiring practices.

Flores, who was recently terminated by the Miami Dolphins over alleged poor collaboration, chose to sue the Dolphins, New York Giants and Denver Broncos after not being given a fair shot at the Giants’ head coaching job. Flores arrived at this conclusion after receiving text messages from New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichek, wherein he congratulated Brian Flores on getting the Giants job rather than Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. He received these texts before he had his official final interview, leading him to believe his interview was a sham intended to skirt the NFL’s diversity rules. 

Flores also named the Dolphins and the Broncos in the lawsuit. According to Flores’s attorneys, he was never given a chance in Miami, as he refused owner Stephen Ross’s request to “tank” for the first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Ross offered him $100,000 for every game the team lost and with a terrible roster, Flores led the team to five wins. In addition, Flores claims Ross also encouraged him to violate the league’s  rules and recruit a “prominent quarterback.” From then on, Flores claims that he was ostracized and subsequently defamed throughout the league as someone difficult to work with. Flores is suing the Broncos because he claims they also held a “sham” interview with him. He also asserts that then-General Manager John Elway and others showed up intoxicated. 

In a statement by Ross, he stated the “allegations are false, malicious and defamatory” and he is “eager to defend [his] integrity, and the integrity and values of the Miami Dolphins organization, from these baseless, unfair and disparaging claims.” The Giants released a statement with their timeline of events, picking apart the claims that Flores’s legal team made, and the Broncos  rebuked the allegations made against them. 

While it is unclear how true the allegations are, what is clear is that this lawsuit exposes long running diversity problems in the NFL. While 70 percent of the NFL is black, there are only three black coaches, with two of them being hired in this coaching cycle. The Rooney Rule, the NFL’s attempt to promote hiring more diverse coaches and executives, has ultimately failed. The rule requires teams to interview at least two minority head coaches with one in person for each head coach or general manager position. This rule hasn’t worked well enough as you’d expect more African American coaches and general managers in the NFL, with the players being overwhelmingly black. Black coaches often face more scrutiny and are on shorter leashes. Such is the case with coaches like Flores, Jim Caldwell or even Hall of Famer Tony Dungy, who were all fired after winning seasons. 

This complaint will be settled with Flores receiving both support and scorn from all across the NFL world. Many worry that Flores will be black-balled from other head coaching jobs, including Flores himself stating, “I understand that I may be risking coaching the game that I love and that has done so much for my family and me.” However, Flores accepts this and as he said in the same statement, “My sincere hope is that by standing up against systemic racism in the NFL, others will join me to ensure that positive change is made for generations to come.” for my family and me.” 

Photo Credit: “Miami Dolphins Training Camp 2016” by Photo-Gator