Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores has filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL accusing the league of having racist hiring practices. According to ESPN, three teams are named in the lawsuit—the Dolphins, the Broncos, and the Giants—regarding his interview processes with Denver and New York, as well his firing last month by Miami. The 58-page lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court.
In the lawsuit, Flores claims that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross attempted to bribe him to lose games after he was hired in 2019, and tried to pressure him into recruiting a “prominent quarterback” at the end of the 2019 season. Flores was fired from his position as Head Coach on Jan. 10 despite recording the Dolphins’ first back-to-back winning seasons since 2003.
Flores also claimed the Giants had interviewed him for a head coaching role only to fulfill the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview a minimum number of minority candidates for their open positions. He alleges the job was already promised to another coach before his final interview.
Text messages between Flores and Bill Belichick reveal Bellichick mistakenly congratulated the former Miami coach on landing a job with the Giants that was actually promised to a different coach with the same first name. When asked to confirm who the text was meant for, the Patriot’s head coach corrected himself, saying he intended to text Brian Daboll, not Brain Flores.
“I fu**ed this up. I double checked and misread the text. I think they are naming Brian Daboll. I’m sorry about that,” Belichick wrote to Flores.
Texts from Bill Belichick to Brian Flores, congratulating Brian for landing the #Giants job.
Belichick thought he was texting Brian Daboll. He was texting Flores by mistake. pic.twitter.com/Y686XcjYC3
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) February 1, 2022
Flores also claims that a similar scenario occurred when he interviewed with the Broncos for a head coaching job in 2019. According to the lawsuit, then-Denver General Manager John Elway and others arrived late for his interview and were apparently hungover.
According to ESPN, the Dolphins claimed, “The implication that we acted in a manner inconsistent with the integrity of the game is incorrect.” The Broncos released a memo of their own, stating, “Our process was thorough and fair to determine the most qualified candidate for our head coaching position.”
The NFL also issued a statement, writing, “Diversity is core to everything we do, and there are few issues on which our clubs and our internal leadership team spend more time. We will defend against these claims, which are without merit.”
Wigdor Law LLP, the firm representing Flores said, the football coach hopes to “shine a light on the racial injustices that take place inside the NFL” by addressing various issues, including increasing the influence of Black decision-makers in the hiring process; increasing “the objectivity” in hiring and terminating GMs, head coaches, and coordinators; increasing the number of Black coordinators; and incentivizing the hiring and retention of Black GMs, head coaches, and coordinators.
“I understand the risk. Look, I love coaching football. And I still want to coach,” Flores said to CNN. “But this is bigger than coaching, this is bigger than me. The numbers speak for themselves as far as the hiring, firing and lack of opportunities for minorities and Black coaches and executives in the National Football League. We need things to change.”
Flores is currently in the process of interviewing for a head coaching position with the New Orleans Saints, according to ESPN’s Mike Triplett. When asked by CNN if he would drop the lawsuit if hired, Flores gave a firm answer.
“No,” he responded. “We need change. This is about changing the hiring practices in the National Football League.”