Last Updated on February 14, 2022
Former Miami Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores has filed a class action lawsuit against the NFL in which he claims “systemic racism” is rampant across the league. Flores has accused multiple organizations of conducting sham interviews, incentivizing losses and improperly recruiting players. The league and three of the teams named in the named in the lawsuit — the Dolphins, New York Giants and Denver Broncos — have denied the allegations.
Flores has accused the NFL of being run “like a planation” where “a majority black force put their bodies on the line every Sunday.” The lawsuit also accuses the NFL of being “racially segregated.”
Not long after Flores filed his lawsuit, the NFL assured their commitment to “diversity” and denied the allegations in a statement. “The NFL and our clubs are deeply committed to ensuring equitable employment practices and continue to make progress in providing equitable opportunities throughout our organizations,” wrote the league office. On Saturday, the league offered an additional statement. Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league was hiring “outside experts” who will re-evaluate the league’s “diversity, equity and inclusion” policies in hiring.
Despite Flores’ claims of systemic racism, the NFL has donated millions to BLM-linked groups and other “social justice” organizations. Prior to the 2017-18 season, the NFL committed over $100 million in order to “promote social justice change.” Between both “national and local projects”, the league set aside $89 million over a seven-year period while NFL owners kicked in the rest. The league highlighted “nonprofit organizations focused on law enforcement and community relations, criminal justice reform and education reform” as intended recipients.
None of this was satisfactory for Flores, however, who still contends that the NFL is “managed like a plantation” to the benefit of owners. Flores’ lawsuit has significant focus on the league’s hiring processes, with Flores accusing teams of interviewing him just to check a box. According to the league’s “Rooney Rule”, teams are required to interview at least one “ethnic minority candidate” for head coaching and executive positions.
Flores has accused the New York Giants of interviewing him only to satisfy the rule and claims they never had any intention of hiring him. However, the New York Giants conducted two interviews with former Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier, who is a black man. The former Dolphins head coach made similar allegations against the Denver Broncos, claiming that John Elway and other league executives showed up to his interview while hungover. Flores believes the Broncos meeting was another “sham interview” designed to satisfy the Rooney Rule.
The Broncos have strongly denied Flores’ allegations. “Our process was thorough and fair to determine the most qualified candidate for our head coaching position. The Broncos will vigorously defend the integrity and values of our organization—and its employees—from such baseless and disparaging claims,” wrote the team in a statement.
Flores was fired last month after three seasons at the helm of the Miami Dolphins. He compiled a win/loss record of 24-25 over those three seasons while his team failed to make the playoffs in each of them.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell just sent this memo to clubs, saying the league is retaining outside experts to help reevaluate its DEI policies and matters regarding integrity of the game will be “reviewed thoroughly and independently” in light of allegations from Brian Flores. pic.twitter.com/VUK2dm0MMe
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 5, 2022