If you are a fan of the NFL or like to keep informed about social issues such as the representation of black coaches in professional sports, you may have heard of Brian Flores and his case against the NFL, Miami Dolphins, and the Denver Broncos. In a federal complaint filed in New York City, Mr. Flores claims that the NFL is racist and discriminated against him because he is a black coach. What prompted this case and what might we see in the future?
Who is Brian Flores?
Brian Flores is an Afro-Latino coach who led the Miami Dolphins. Despite having led his team to back-to-back winning seasons, something that has not happened for the Miami franchise since 2002 and 2003, the Miami Dolphins recently fired Mr. Flores. While this baffled many in the NFL and the greater sports community, Flores soon became a hot commodity for the coaching search. However, he has not been hired yet. He had multiple interviews as many teams are currently on the search for a new coach. But none have hired Mr. Flores.
This leads to a discussion about the NFL’s efforts to diversify its coaching ranks and, what is called the “Rooney Rule.” The Rooney Rule requires NFL teams to demonstrate that they have interviewed non-white applicants for coaching positions. The Rooney Rule was put in place to increase minority representation in leading positions for NFL franchises, such as head coach, general manager, etc. However, this is where the problem, and Flores’ argument, begins.
How did the lawsuit start?
Mr. Flores cites text messages from himself and famous NFL coach, Bill Belichick, in his complaint. Flores was a former assistant for Belichick, and Belichick mistakenly thought that he was texting Brian Daboll, another former assistant who was recently hired by the New York Giants. The texts show that Belichick was congratulating Flores when he meant to text Daboll. Mr. Flores argues that the texts show that the Giants had already decided that Daboll was their man for the job before they had interviewed Mr. Flores. However, the Giants were waiting to announce their decision until they interviewed Mr. Flores, in order to comply with the Rooney Rule. This would be known as a “sham” interview, something that the Rooney Rule prohibits. Clearly upset and concerned about racial discrimination he may have suffered, Mr. Flores brought his complaint in order to seek compensation and to lead the charge against the NFL to make real progress instead of the performative activism of the Rooney Rule.
This case recently came out, so more updates will come through the news, including whether Mr. Flores will find a coaching position with the NFL after his complaint was made public.
For more information about the lawsuit and background, please check out Brian Flores’ lawsuit shines a brutal light on the NFL’s hiring practices — The Undefeated. To find out more about your rights, visit Chicago Discrimination Lawyers – Cramer Law Group.