Former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores is suing the NFL, the Dolphins, the Broncos, and the Giants, alleging discriminatory hiring practices.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Manhattan, Flores accuses Dolphins owner Stephen Ross of trying to incentivize him to purposely lose games so the team could get the top draft pick. He also alleged that Ross pressured him into recruiting a "prominent quarterback" in 2019, and after Flores refused to have a meeting with the player over fears it would violate NFL rules on tampering, he was "treated with disdain and held out as someone who was noncompliant and difficult to work with."
Flores was fired by the Dolphins on Jan. 10, after the team had its first back-to-back winning seasons since 2003. When Black candidates are hired, it's a "rarity," Flores' lawsuit states, and "they are discriminated against in connection with the terms and conditions of their employment and compensation and terminated even as far less successful head white coaches are retained. Moreover, Black head coaches are far less likely than white head coaches to receive second chances even as white head coaches are routinely hired by teams even after they fail elsewhere."
In his lawsuit, Flores also accuses the Broncos of giving him a "sham" interview in 2019, and alleges the Giants only asked him to interview for their head coach position last month so they could be in compliance with an NFL rule requiring teams to interview minority candidates for open roles. Flores says that prior to his interview, Patriots coach Bill Belichick accidentally texted him that Brian Daboll had already been chosen for the job.
Flores is seeking class-action status. In a statement released by the law firm representing him, Flores said God has "gifted me with a special talent to coach the game of football, but the need for change is bigger than my personal goals. In making the decision to file the class action complaint today, I understand that I may be risking coaching the game that I love and that has done so much for my family and me. My sincere hope is that by standing up against systemic racism in the NFL, others will join me to ensure that positive change is made for generations to come."