Former New England Patriots coach Brian Flores is suing the NFL, as well as the New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, and Denver Broncos for a number of things, while Bill Belichick’s mistake is in the thick of the situation. Many are confused about the situation, so here’s a full explanation of the entirety of the it.
The 58-page lawsuit was filed Tuesday in the Manhattan federal court. To read the full PDF of the lawsuit, click here.
Why Flores is suing the New York Giants
Flores, who was interviewed by the Giants as a head coaching candidate, was allegedly forced to sit through both a dinner and an in-person, exclusive interview already knowing that the Giants had selected Brian Daboll as their head coach. The reason why he knew?
Belichick accidentally texted Flores instead of Daboll that he is “their guy,” before admitting he “(expletive)ed this up” through text after Flores realized that Belichick likely wasn’t texting the right person, and in the same text saying that they’re going to hire Daboll.
The Bills clearly wouldn’t have known if Flores was their guy, considering Flores has no relation to Buffalo, and Daboll, one of the candidates for the job, was a Buffalo coach at the time. That made it quite obvious to Flores that Belichick wasn’t texting the right person.
In the lawsuit, Flores claims that the Giants were only interviewing the ex-Dolphins head coach to comply with the NFL’s Rooney Rule, forcing each team to interview people of minority for their vacant positions.
The lawsuit notes that Flores would not have known about this had Belichick not mistakenly texted him.
Flores says on page 39 of the lawsuit that the “Giants in particular have an ominous history when it comes to race relations, and, in particular, when it comes to hiring Black Head Coaches.
“The Giants have never hired a Black Head Coach—Mr. Flores would have been the Team’s first. This is a near unbelievable fact given that the Giants have been in existence for nearly 100 years and have now hired 22 Head Coaches. It is made even worse given that
approximately 70% of the players in the NFL are Black, and the Organization sits in the nexus of the New York/New Jersey community, which prides itself on diversity and inclusion. Year after year, the Giants have interviewed Black candidates for open Head Coach positions—likely due only to the requirements of the Rooney Rule—without ever hiring one.”
Why Flores is suing the Miami Dolphins
Flores, the former Miami coach, alleges that the Dolphins offered him $100K per loss to improve the team’s draft stock, with the lawsuit saying the team tried to get him to “tank.” The team also fired him on January 10th despite leading Miami to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2003. The lawsuit states that the owner was “mad” with the team’s small success — which was actually just five games.
Flores claims as well that the Dolphins tried to get Flores to illegally recruit a “prominent quarterback,” which would be in violation of league tampering rules. The quarterback named as “prominent quarterback” was likely Tom Brady — as the lawsuit seems to cover up his name.
The ex-Dolphins coach also alleges that Ross invited Flores onto his yacht for lunch in the winter of 2020. The lawsuit states that shortly after Flores arrived, the prominent quarterback was “conveniently arriving at the yacht, which the lawsuit claims that it was “obviously” an attempt to set up a “purportedly impromptu meeting between Mr. Flores and the prominent quarterback.”
Flores claims that “from that point forward, Mr. Flores was ostracized and ultimately he was fired. He was subsequently defamed throughout the media and the League as he was labeled by the Dolphins brass as someone who was difficult to work with. This is reflective of an all too familiar ‘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.”
Flores later went on to say this on page 35.
“Over the remaining year and a half of Mr. Flores tenure at the helm of the Miami
Dolphins, he was routinely made to feel uncomfortable based upon his decision not tank in order to secure the top pick in the 2019 draft. Upon information and belief, no white Head Coach has ever been subjected to such ridicule over winning and holding the spirit of the game in such high regard. In fact, Mr. Flores was ultimately terminated and subsequently defamed throughout the media and the League as he was labeled by the Dolphins brass as someone who was difficult to work with. This is reflective of an all too familiar ‘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.”
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross came out and responded to the allegations, saying Flores’ claims “are false.”
Why Flores is suing the Denver Broncos
In 2019, Flores was scheduled to interview for the Broncos’ head coaching vacanvy, but Flores alleges that John Elway and several other Denver executives showed up an hour late and it was “obvious that they had been drinking heavily” the previous night.
“It was clear from the substance of the interview that Mr. Flores was interviewed only
because of the Rooney Rule, and that the Bronco’s never had any intention to consider him as a legitimate candidate for the job. Shortly thereafter, Vic Fangio, a White man, was hired to be the Head Coach of the Broncos,” claims the lawsuit on page 41.
Why Flores is suing the NFL
The lawsuit claims evidence of racism in several forms, noting the lack of black head coaches, general managers, “discrimination” toward Colin Kaepernick, saying in page 15 that “the NFL has never fully acknowledged its history of racism or taken appropriate steps to address its racial disparities.” Flores also claims the NFL is institutionally racist.
Flores goes on to claim three-time head coach Jon Gruden is the “embodiment of the NFL’s acquiescence to racism.” “Mr. Gruden exchanged a slew of emails containing racist, misogynistic and homophobic slurs to Washington Football Team’s then-General Manager Bruce Allen,” says the lawsuit on Page 18.
Flores goes on to point out discrimination from other black coaches and executives across the league.
Here is what Flores is looking to accomplish from this lawsuit:
“Having discovered what the Giants and the rest of the NFL had hoped to keep in the dark, Mr. Flores now brings this Class Action Complaint to shine a light on the racial injustices that take place inside the NFL and to effectuate real change for the future.
Among the other relief sought, Mr. Flores seeks the following injunctive relief:
i. Increase the influence of Black individuals in hiring and termination decisions for General Manager, Head Coach and Offensive and Defensive Coordinator positions;
a. Ensure diversity of ownership by creating and funding a committee dedicated to sourcing Black investors to take majority ownership stakes in NFL Teams; b. Ensure diversity of decision-making by permitting select Black players and coaches to participate in the interviewing process for General Manager, Head Coach and Offensive and Defensive Coordinator positions;
ii. Increase the objectivity of hiring and termination decisions for General Manager, Head Coach and Offensive and Defensive Coordinator positions;
a. Require NFL Teams to reduce to writing the rationale for hiring and termination decisions, including a full explanation of the basis for any subjective influences (e.g., trust, personality, interview performance, etc.); b. Require NFL Teams to consider side-by-side comparisons of objective criteria, such as past performance, experience and objective qualifications;
iii. Increase the number of Black Offensive and Defensive Coordinators;
a. Create and fund a training program for lower-level Black coaches who demonstrate an aptitude for coaching and an interest in advancing to a Coordinator position;
iv. Incentivize the hiring and retention of Black General Managers, Head Coaches and Offensive and Defensive Coordinators through monetary, draft and/or other compensation such as additional salary cap space;
v. Complete transparency with respect to pay for all General Managers, Head Coaches and Offensive and Defensive Coordinators.