Brian Flores is suing the NFL for $5 million after he was not offered a head coaching job, despite being one of the most successful defensive coordinators in recent history. The lawsuit alleges that his age and lack of experience are to blame, which opens up an interesting discussion on how much time it takes before you can be considered “experienced” as a coach.
Brian Flores is a former NFL player who filed a lawsuit against the NFL for sexual harassment. His wife, Michelle, was also named as one of the defendants.
Former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores filed a class-action complaint against the NFL and its clubs this week, accusing them of conducting phony interviews, encouraging defeats, and putting pressure on teams to recruit players unfairly. The league and three of the clubs involved, the Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, and Denver Broncos, all quickly refuted his claims, leaving two paths to take.
Of course, the first question is if any laws were violated. The second question is how the NFL will respond to Flores’ charges internally. Will it make further efforts to improve the diversity of its coach hiring policies? Would it punish Dolphins owner Stephen Ross if he offered $100,000 incentives to lose games in order to secure the No. 1 selection in the 2019 draft, as Flores claims? What will happen to Flores, who has put his career on the line at the age of 40?
In a statement, Flores expressed his hope that others would join his case to tell experiences of “chronic racism in the NFL.” “Diversity is important to all we do,” the league stated in a statement, adding that Flores’ charges “are without substance.” The Pittsburgh Steelers were the only club with a Black head coach (Mike Tomlin) at the time the case was filed, with five places left available in this hiring cycle after four white men were hired.
With the aid of league sources and N. Jeremi Duru, a professor at American University’s Washington College of Law and a former counsel to the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which pushes for diversity in the NFL, let’s look at where each track may go in the coming weeks and months. Flores’ lawsuit, according to Duru, is “a solid case,” not one that “throws spaghetti against the wall” or is “put forward only to generate media waves.”
What is a ‘fake interview,’ exactly?
Flores stated in writing what many Black coaches have been saying quietly for years: they get job offers to satisfy the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which compels clubs to interview two external minority candidates for empty head-coaching positions, but they aren’t considered genuine contenders for many opportunities. Flores revealed that he found out three days before his interview for the Giants’ vacant offensive coordinator position on Jan. 27 that the job would go to Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. Flores supplied screenshots of text conversations from Bill Belichick, the coach of the New England Patriots, who looked to be aware of Daboll’s planned employment.
Flores also said that Broncos executives came late to a head coach interview in 2019 and claimed they had been “drinking hard the night before,” implying that they did not take his interview seriously before hiring white coach Vic Fangio.
The Giants said in a statement that “Brian Flores was in the conversation to be our head coach until the eleventh hour,” while the Broncos said the interview went well and that “notes, analysis, and evaluations” “demonstrate the depth of our conversation and sincere interest in Mr. Flores as a head coaching candidate.”
Is it against the law to conduct ‘fake interviews’?
Flores’ lawsuit alleges breaches of federal and state civil/human rights laws aimed at ensuring equality. It also discloses that he plans to submit a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC), as required by Title 7 of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, according to Duru.
Plaintiffs have two alternatives at that time, according to Duru. They may allege “discriminatory treatment,” which requires evidence of discrimination on purpose. They might also argue “disparate impact,” which requires evidence that a policy or regulation has a different effect on minorities than it does on others.
So, when will the trial begin?
That isn’t exactly how it works. To begin with, it wouldn’t surprise me if the NFL moved to dismiss the case and refer it to its own arbitration system. It did so in response to a lawsuit brought by former Raiders coach Jon Gruden last year, citing the league’s constitution and bylaws.
If that fails, the lawsuit will proceed to discovery, which permits each party to examine pertinent documents held by the other. “If he can go beyond a move to dismiss,” Duru said, “then he may obtain more specific ties to a racially discriminatory element to the particular statements made.”
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“He’s seeking specific monetary damages as well as hard-core structural transformation,” Duru said. “If he succeeds, there will be court-ordered systemic reform, which might lead to the improvements that activists in this field have been advocating for for years.” It’s sad that the matter ended up in court, considering Brian’s points have been stated before. However, the improvement has not been steady.
“In his complaint, he claims there is irrefutable proof that the league’s equal opportunity programs were purposefully and blatantly disregarded. We’ve heard a lot of solid arguments that this has occurred in the past, but there’s never been a paper trail like this.”
What exactly is Flores looking for?
According to Flores’ complaint, he is requesting the following changes:
Increased hiring power of African-Americans
GMs, head coaches, and coordinators are hired/fired with more “objectivity.”
An increase in the number of African-American coordinators
Incentives for recruiting and retaining black general managers, head coaches, and coordinators
Transparency in compensation for general managers, head coaches, and coordinators
What if Flores is hired by the NFL? Is it enough to invalidate his claims?
In a nutshell, no. Flores makes both particular and broad charges. Working for one franchise would not change the facts of what Flores claims occurred at another. It would also make no difference to the pattern of hirings and firings outlined in the lawsuit.
“I don’t think he would willingly abandon the lawsuit,” Duru said, “since it wouldn’t affect his main point.”
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It’s difficult to believe the league concluded in a couple of hours that Ross did not make the offer that Flores claims he did, particularly because Flores and his lawyers claim to have proof and witnesses. It will be quite tough for the NFL to dismiss this charge. When the House Ways and Means committee sought to downplay its public acknowledgement of a sexual harassment probe at the Washington Commanders’ workplace, it became engaged and will organize a discussion on the matter on Thursday in Congress.
So, what’s the worst that might happen to Ross?
In recent years, the NFL has imposed fines and sanctions on a number of owners. However, it has faced justified criticism for the relative leniency and lack of transparency surrounding previous investigations and punishments, most recently with the Commanders and owner Dan Snyder, who the NFL announced would hand over day-to-day operations of the franchise to his wife, Tanya, for an unspecified period. A $10 million punishment was also imposed on the squad.
The key issue is whether Ross will be forced to sell the team by the NFL. We can’t rule out the possibility, but it hasn’t happened in the current league’s history. Jerry Richardson, the former owner of the Carolina Panthers, sold the team in 2018 amid charges of workplace misbehavior, although he said at the time that the choice was his own.
Is Ross’ claimed offer more widespread than we think?
What we do know is that the NFL’s college player draft system encourages tanking, or losing on purpose. At the start of each round, the team with the poorest record is chosen. No NFL owner has ever faced such a particular charge, and paying any hired employee off the books, whether a coach or a player, is a violation of the league’s constitution.
It’s worth remembering that Flores’ lawyers filed a class-action lawsuit, which implies that anybody with proof or charges may participate. Hue Jackson, a long-time NFL coach, said on Twitter on Wednesday that he had a similar offer from Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam in 2016.
Brian Flores explains why he believes Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered him $100,000 a game for each loss.
What can be done if it’s already against the rules?
One alternative is to look into the NBA/first-round NHL’s selection lottery. Although the lottery favors the teams with the lowest records, there are no assurances that the worst clubs will get the top choices.
Finally, what about the charge of tampering?
Ross allegedly arranged up a “chance” encounter with a “prominent quarterback” who was under contract with another club in 2020, according to Flores. Flores did not attend the meeting and did not divulge the quarterback’s identify.
Setting up a meeting with a contractual player would be against the NFL’s anti-tampering rules, but league insiders say random meetings and benign chats happen all the time. This claim should be seen in the context of Flores’ attempt to provide an other reason for the Dolphins’ decision to terminate him following the 2021 season. Flores is claiming that the Dolphins held him in contempt for refusing to tamper and tank, despite what he claims are incorrect rumors that he is difficult to work with.
So, where do we go from here?
The NFL is expected to reply with a court filing, potentially seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed. While Flores’ prospects of landing a job have dwindled, particularly in this recruiting cycle, two positions for which he interviewed remain open: Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints.
Brian Flores is suing the NFL for not giving him a head coaching job. The lawsuit has yet to be heard in court, but it is an interesting case nonetheless. Reference: brian flores coaching record.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Flores suing for?
A: Flores is suing for a breach of contract and unjust enrichment. The plaintiff alleges that the defendant failed to keep its promises.
Why is Flores suing the Dolphins?
A: Flores is suing the Miami Dolphins because they were not properly notified of his termination, and as a result he has been unable to collect any benefits from them.
Why is Flores suing the Giants?
A: The Giants are teaming up with the Dodgers to sue Flores for allegedly creating a fake social media account on behalf of the Dodgers. He did this in order to sell tickets and give himself credit for what he was doing.
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