Former Miami Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores announced yesterday that he is suing the NFL and three individual teams–The New York Giants, The Miami Dolphins, and the Denver Broncos–claiming he faced racial discrimination during the hiring (and firing) process.
If you’re interested in reading the 58-page lawsuit I encourage you to do so: you can click here for the full details.
However, for those of you that don’t have the time or patience to sit down and read almost 60 pages of legal mumbo-jumbo, I’ll break it all down for you here.
So, Let’s start where it all began.
Brian Flores vs The Miami Dolphins
On January 10th, 2022, Brian Flores was fired as the Miami Dolphins Head Coach
. Flores first assumed the role in 2019, where he went 5-11 in his inaugural season. However, the very next year he went 10-6, which was their best finish since the 2016-17 season. He followed that up by going 9-8 this season, and barely missing the playoffs.
Brian Flores led the Dolphins to their first back-to-back winning seasons since 2002/2003, and was thanked by the Dolphins by, well, getting fired.
"I made a decision today to part ways with Brian Flores," Stephen Ross, the Owner of the Dolphins, said. "After evaluating where we are as an organization and what we need going forward to improve, I determined that key dynamics of our football organization weren't functioning at a level I want it to be and felt that this decision was in the best interest of the Miami Dolphins. I believe we have a talented young roster in place and have the opportunity to be much better in 2022.”
However, the lawsuit put forth by Flores states that “the writing had been on the wall since [his] first seasons as Head Coach of the Dolphins, when he refused his owner’s directive to “tank” for the first pick in the draft.”
Flores goes on to say that owner Stephen Ross had offered him an additional $100,000 for every game that he lost. When Flores turned down the offer, he was allegedly approached by General Manager Chris Grier, who told Flores that Ross was upset with him for “compromising [the team’s] draft position.”
Flores goes on to accuse Ross of pressuring him to recruit a prominent quarterback that would put the team in violation of the League’s tampering rules. Flores said no, yet was eventually invited to Ross’ yacht one day for lunch. Agreeing to what he thought was..well…lunch, Flores quickly discovered it was all a ploy. You see, the “prominent Quarterback,” who WFAN radio broadcaster Craig Carton says was Tom Brady,
was on his way to the yacht as well. Flores refused the meeting, quickly left, and was “treated with disdain” ever since.
From that point forward Flores was deemed an outcast, and was eventually fired. It was then that the media and the League labeled him difficult to work with, which the lawsuit refers to as an “angry black man stigma that is often casted upon Black men who are strong in their morals and convictions, while white men are coined as passionate for those very same attributes.”
That pretty much wraps up the Dolphins chapter of this story, but it’s really only the tip of the iceberg.
Brian Flores vs The New York Giants
The Giants had also fired their head coach at the end of the season and were shopping around for a replacement. The Giants interviewed a reported bevy of candidates, including Flores, but eventually settled on a Brain with a different last name, Brian Daboll.
The Rooney Rule, introduced in 2003, requires NFL teams to interview even minority candidates for head coaching and football operations opportunities in senior management positions.
Sometime before Flores’ interview, Bill Belichick texted Flores congratulating him for landing the Head Coaching job for the New York Giants. Confused, Flores responded by saying:
“I Interview on Thursday.”
After a few more texts between the two and a mention of the Buffalo Bills (Brian Daboll's former employer), Flores comes out and asks:
“Coach, are you talking to Brian Flores or Brain Daboll. Just making sure.”
To which Bill responds:
“Sorry–I f***ed this up. I double-checked & I misread the text. I think they are naming Daboll. I’m sorry about that. BB.”
So, the smoking gun is in the hand of none other than Bill Belichick. Had Belichick not sent those texts, none of this would’ve likely come to be. However, Belichick’s messages show that the Giants already had made up their minds before even interviewing Flores, thus making his interview a simple formality.
Believe it or not, this wasn’t Brian Flores’ first fake interview that was held only in an effort to comply with the Rooney Rule. And that's where the Broncos come in.
Brian Flores vs The Denver Broncos
In 2019, Brian Flores was scheduled to interview with the Denver Broncos. However, after the Broncos interview team consisting of John Elway, the (at the time) GM, and the CEO showed up an hour late and obviously hungover, Flores recognized what was going on.
It was clear to Flores that the interview was only being conducted to comply with the Rooney Rule, and that the Broncos had already made up their mind as to who they would hire.
Shortly after the interview was conducted, Vic Fangio, a white male, was hired to be the Head Coach of the Broncos.
Brian Flores vs The NFL
Out of all the 32 head coaches in the NFL, only one is Black. Well over half of the NFL’s players are Black, yet only one head coach, Mike Tomlin, shares the same race. The NFL has long faced criticism over the lack of Black coaches and executives in the sport, yet has reportedly been “working on it.”
Brian Flores, having faced the adversity first hand, is fed up with the league’s ways, and is trying to force their hand. Flores is looking to increase the number of Black head coaches and executives by:
- Requiring Teams to provide a written rationale for hiring/termination
- Create a training fund for lower-level Black coaches who demonstrate a desire to coach
- Incentivize the hiring and retention of Black executives
- And many more.
This is just the beginning of a case that could break open a bevy of issues for the NFL, but it's something that needs to be done. You can be sure to check back with OddsSeeker regularly for more updates as the lawsuit continues.