Recently fired Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed an explosive lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court against the NFL on Tuesday, with the black plaintiff alleging the league “still rife with racism” and nothing more than lip service to its oft-stated goal of coaching diversity. .
The 58-page class action lawsuit names the NFL and all 32 of its franchises, seeking a jury trial to resolve the charges brought less than a month after Flores was fired by the Dolphins despite posting a winning record over the past two seasons.
The coach, who was fired on January 10, also criticizes the league’s “Rooney Rule” to increase the number of minority coaches as a horribly failed attempt to create diversity on the touchline. With Flores fired, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin remains the only black head coach in the NFL.
“In some critical ways, the NFL is racially segregated and run much like a plantation,” the lawsuit says. “Its 32 owners, none of whom are black, profit heavily from the labor of NFL players, 70% of whom are black.
“Racial discrimination is only exacerbated by the NFL’s insincere commitment to social justice.”
Flores, 40, a Brooklyn native who posted a 19-14 record in the last two years in Miami, was considered one of the league’s best young coaches until his abrupt ouster.
The lawsuit cites a text chat between Flores, who was one of the New York Giants’ opening candidates, filled with white head coach Brian Daball and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
In the exchange, Belichick first congratulates Flores on getting the position to replace fired head coach Joe Judge, though the New England coach apparently thought he was chatting with Daball days before the hiring went public.
“Sorry… I double-checked and misread the text,” Belichick wrote. “I think they call Dabolla. I’m sorry about that. VV”.
In a statement, Flores said the need for a dramatic change in the sport outweighed his goal of winning the Super Bowl.
“I understand that I can take risks practicing the game that I love and that has done so much for me and my family,” he said. “I sincerely hope that in speaking out against systemic racism in the NFL, others will join me to ensure positive change for future generations.”
Flores also stated that the Giants invited him to this year’s meeting anyway after drafting Duboll, and claimed that the Denver Broncos invited him to the 2019 interview solely to comply with the “Rooney Rule” requirement – with GM John Elway, who late and hungover.
Instead, the Broncos hired Vic Fangio, a white head coach fired after he posted a 19-30 record in three years in Denver.
“Mr. Flores was not only denied the job of New York Giants head coach, but he was also humiliated because (the team) subjected him to a bogus interview in an attempt to make it appear that a black candidate was given a legitimate chance at the job. Court Documents Shown .
In a statement, the NFL pledged to defend “against these unfounded claims… Diversity is at the core of everything we do, and there are several issues that our clubs and our internal leadership team spend more time on.”
The Broncos called Flores’ allegations “blatantly false.” The Giants responded with a statement defending their head coach selection and the process that led to his hiring.
“We interviewed an impressive and diverse group of candidates,” the Giants said. “The thing is, Brian Flores was in conversation about being our head coach until the eleventh hour. In the end, we hired the person we thought was the most suitable to be our next head coach.”
Flores began his New England career back in 2004 at the age of 23 and eventually became a cornerback for the Patriots that defeated the LA Rams 10-3 in the 2019 Super Bowl before moving on to Miami.
Once there, he claimed owner Steven Ross offered him a $1,000-per-game bonus for each loss in hopes of getting a higher pick in the 2020 draft. The lawsuit added that Flores had to deal with the “evil black stigma” that accompanied his desire to win.
The lawsuit specifically noted that there is now only one black head coach in the entire league and a lack of minorities in other high-level positions such as offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, and quarterback coach.
“This is no coincidence,” the lawsuit says. “Rather, the statistics…described in this complaint are the result of racial discrimination.”
Lengthy court documents have raised the NFL’s expulsion of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, alleging he was blacklisted after taking a knee during the Stars and Stripes.
The lawsuit also mentions a recent scandal in which Las Vegas Raiders coach John Gruden was fired after emails in which he made racist and homophobic remarks were made public. Although the statement is dated 2011, the coach was fired only last season.
In one of his comments, Gruden described DeMaurice Smith, a black man and chief executive of the NFL Players Association, as having “lips the size of Michelin tires.”