Former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores is suing the NFL and three of its teams, alleging problems in the league with discrimination in its head coach hiring practices.
Flores filed the 58-page class-action lawsuit on Feb. 1st. In the suit, he detailed specific accounts of discriminatory practices in action while interviewing for the head coaching job with the Denver Broncos and New York Giants.
The lawsuit created a bombshell in the league. It’s being heavily analyzed on every sports show in America. Flores even went on ESPN's morning show "Get Up" the day after filing the lawsuit to stand behind the allegations he made.
“I was upset that I wasn’t getting a true opportunity to show what I can do and what I can bring to a team, and I think that’s a lot,” Flores said on Get Up.
Flores’s breaking point was his interview with the New York Giants. In the lawsuit, Flores said his interview to become head coach of the Giants was a ruse. According to Flores, the Giants had already decided on another coach, Brian Daboll, before giving Flores an interview.
Flores leaked text messages between himself and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, his former boss, to prove this claim. In the messages, Belichick congratulates Brian Flores on getting the job, but the problem was Flores hadn't even interviewed for it yet.
Flores responded by asking if Belichick meant to send the message to Brian Daboll. It turns out Belichick did.
Because of the NFL's Rooney Rule, each NFL team hiring a head coach must interview at least one candidate of color. It has long been criticized as being a performative rule. The messages congratulating Brian Daboll before the Giants even interviewed Brian Flores begs the question: would Flores have even been given an interview if it wasn't to make a quota?
Flores describes another of these accounts during an interview for a head coaching position for the Denver Broncos in 2019. Flores said the Broncos representatives interviewing him arrived an hour late and appeared to be drunk from the night before. In this case, Flores believed he was just being interviewed for the Rooney Rule and not a legitimate opportunity.
The Dolphins are also named in the lawsuit for what the team did while he was their head coach. Flores said Dolphins owner Stephen Ross tried to pay him $100,000 a game to lose on purpose after he was hired in 2019. When Flores won games late in the season, the Dolphins general manager would tell Flores that Ross was mad because the success was "compromising the team's draft position."
Since filing the lawsuit, all three teams have denied Flores' accusations, each putting out separate statements defending or completely denying his accounts.
“I take great personal exception to these malicious attacks, and the truth must be known,” Ross said in a statement. His allegations are false, malicious and defamatory. We understand there are media reports stating that the NFL intends to investigate his claims, and we will cooperate fully. I welcome that investigation and I am eager to defend my personal integrity and the integrity and values of the entire Miami Dolphins organization.”
With this lawsuit, Flores is pulling out skeletons we all knew were in the NFL's multi-billion dollar closet.