Former Miami Dolphins coach sues NFL

Brian Flores, former head coach of the Miami Dolphins

Former  Miami  Dolphins coach sues NFL
February 10
11:13 2022

Brian Flores, former head coach of the Miami Dolphins, has filed a lawsuit against the NFL and three teams citing racism in their hiring practices and his firing last month by Miami.

“God has gifted me with a special talent to coach the game of football, but the need for change is bigger than my personal goals,” Flores said in a statement put out by the Wigdor firm. “In making the decision to file the class action complaint today, I understand that I may be risking coaching the game that I love and that has done so much for my family and me. 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.”

The class-action lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court last week and alleges that Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross attempted to incentivize Flores to purposely lose games in 2019 to obtain a better draft position. Flores claims he was offered $100,000 for each loss that season. As the teams won games late that season, Flores says Dolphins’ general manager Chris Grier told him Ross was “mad” that winning those games was compromising the team’s draft position.

Flores also claims that Ross pressured him into recruiting a “prominent quarterback” at the end of the 2019 season. Flores stated that he refused to do so as to not violate the NFL’s tampering rules. In the winter of 2020, Ross allegedly invited Flores to a yacht for lunch where he was told that the quarterback was “conveniently” arriving for the meeting. Ross refused the meeting and promptly left the yacht. 

Flores alleges he was “treated with disdain and held out as someone who was noncompliant and difficult to work with.” This kind of makes sense as to why he was fired after posting back-to-back winning seasons. The question is, does Flores have any evidence to back up any of these claims against Ross and the Dolphins? These are strong claims and any evidence corroborating his claims would make Miami look very bad.

The allegations don’t stop there. Flores interviewed for the New York Giants head coaching vacancy last month, which has now been filled by former Buffalo Bills coach Brian Daboll. He alleges that the Giants only interviewed him for no other reason than to just comply with the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview minority candidates for their open positions. The NFL has updated the Rooney Rule in recent years and says that teams must hold an in-person interview with at least one external minority candidate for any head coaching or general manager position opening.

Flores alleged he spoke with New York on Jan.18, prior to the team hiring former Buffalo Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen as their general manager on Jan. 23. He states that Schoen confirmed their interview date for Jan. 27 and Giants co-director of player personnel Tim McDonnell texted Flores saying he hoped he would “come in and win the f-ing job.”

Later that day, Flores alleges he received a series of text messages from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, whom Flores worked under for 10 years in New England. The texts from Belichick basically stated that he had heard from both Buffalo and New York that Flores was their guy. Flores asked if Belichick meant to send the message to Daboll or him. Belichick realized his error and told Flores he meant the message for Daboll.

“Sorry – I f—ed this up. I double checked and misread the text. I think they are naming Brian Daboll. I’m sorry about that,” Belichick allegedly texted.

Flores says his interview with the Giants on Jan. 27 was a “sham” and the Giants hired Daboll a day later. The Giants said they were “pleased and confident” with their hiring process.

“We interviewed an impressive and diverse group of candidates,” the Giants said. “The fact of the matter is, Brian Flores was in the conversation to be our head coach until the eleventh hour. Ultimately, we hired the individual we felt was most qualified to be our next head coach.”

When it comes to the Broncos, Flores alleges the team essentially did the same thing as the Giants as they only brought him in to interview to satisfy the Rooney Rule and had no intentions on considering him for the job. Flores says that then Denver general manager John Elway and others arrived to the interview an hour late and were hungover after drinking heavily the night before.

The Broncos denied all the allegations against them but once again, if Flores has any evidence of this, it would look very bad for the Broncos.  

“Pages of detailed notes, analysis and evaluations from our interview demonstrate the depth of our conversation and sincere interest in Mr. Flores as a head coaching candidate,” the team said. “Our process was thorough and fair to determine the most qualified candidate for our head coaching position.”

I was shocked when I first heard the news of this lawsuit from Flores. He seemed to be poised for another head coaching position in the near future, but I am not sure if that will happen now with this lawsuit.  

It seems that Flores has some valid points in his lawsuit, as no minority candidates have been hired for any of the open head coaching vacancies in this cycle. It’s sad to say this, but I expected there would be at least one, but would not be shocked if none were hired. It looks as though we are headed in that direction as no minority candidates have been hired thus far.  

As I stated in a previous column, massive overhaul is needed for the Rooney Rule as it has not been effective in putting Black head coaches on the sidelines. Honestly, I am getting frustrated over this because I am tired of seeing qualified Black coaches with playing experience being overlooked, while white candidates with a lesser or equal resume are being hired.

It seems as though the NFL owners could care less about what the public thinks about what they choose to do with their franchises. They continue to hire white coaches that have either been previously fired or ones that really don’t have the credentials for the job.  

I am not sure if Flores will be successful with his lawsuit or if it will have its desired effect of having more Black head coaches hired in the future. Like Colin Kaepernick before him, Flores is blazing his own path in pointing out the systemic issues in the NFL.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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