Brian Flores sues the National Football League


Murphy Eggers

The NFL season officially overcomes with much off-season excitement as players and coaches leave for new teams.  Whether the fans are excited or frustrated with their beloved teams deciding to part ways with instrumental players, there are times fans are often confused.

Most recently, the Miami Dolphins decided to part ways with their head coach Brian Flores.  Brian Flores, who had a record of 24 wins and 25 losses, made the most of the three seasons he had with the Dolphins, despite a lack of talent.  It came as a surprise to a lot of NFL fans that Brian Flores was relieved of his duties. Even though his three seasons with the Dolphins were very average seasons, he had the team headed in the right direction, if only they could obtain a few more high-end players.

After the news came out about the firing of Flores, allegations made by Flores began to emerge about the Dolphins’ organization and owner.  The allegations made by Flores have led to a class-action lawsuit against the NFL in attempts to never see the events he had encountered.

The first of the allegations were regarding Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross.  Flores reported that after being hired by the Miami Dolphins organization in 2019, Ross told Flores to purposely lose games to improve their draft position.  In addition to the requests made by Ross to Flores, Dolphins’ general manager Chris Grier told Flores that Stephen Ross was mad because the team began to win games that were hurting their draft position.

The additional allegations included in the lawsuit continued after his firing from the Miami Dolphins.  Flores interviewed with multiple teams over the past month for vacant head coaching jobs.  Two of the teams included in the lawsuit were the New York Giants and Denver Broncos.  

The Giants were one of the first teams to interview Flores for their head coaching job.  After this interview, Flores alleged that the Giants only interviewed him to meet the requirements of the Rooney Rule.  The Giants eventually hired Brian Daboll as their new head coach.

The Rooney Rule was established in 2003 after Tony Dungy, head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Dennis Green, head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, were fired after successful seasons with their teams.  After these firings, U.S. civil rights attorneys released a study that came to the conclusion that even though African-American coaches had higher winning percentages, they were less likely to be hired for prominent roles such as head coaches and more likely to be fired than white head coaches.  The main idea behind this rule was to give minorities a better chance at getting the head coaching jobs they deserve.  

The Giants interview became even more of a topic of discussion after Flores came out saying Bill Belichick messaged Flores saying that he had heard from Buffalo and New York that Flores was the one who was going to win the job.  Later, Flores asked Belichick for clarification on if he was referring to Flores or Daboll, and it turns out Belichick misinformed Flores mistaking Flores for Daboll.

The lawsuit also sites that Flores experienced an interview similar to the interview that was conducted with the Giants.  The Broncos conducted a three-and-a-half-hour interview with Flores including 5 prominent members of the organization.  While the organization felt strongly about the sufficiency and respect given to Flores during the interview process, Flores felt differently.

Once the allegations emerged about the Broncos interview process, John Elway released a statement defending himself and the organization by saying, “While I was not planning to respond publicly to the false and defamatory claims by Brian Flores, I could not be silent any longer with my character, integrity, and professionalism being attacked.” Elway went on to say, “I took Coach Flores very seriously as a candidate for our head coaching position in 2019 and enjoyed our three-and-a-half-hour interview with him.”

The 58-page lawsuit also states what Flores would like to see come out of the events that he had endured.  Some of the items Flores would like to see implemented and enforced in the NFL include increasing black influence in the hiring process for organizations, increasing the number of black coordinators in the league, and incentivizing teams and organizations that hire and or retain black head coaches within their organization.  The lawsuit also showed the races of all the current head coaches with very minimal minority coaches, owners, and general managers.

Flores and his team feel strongly that Flores was wronged by not only the Dolphins organization but also the teams that considered him for the position.  The NFL will need to solve the problems that many organizations often create by instances similar to what Flores has gone through to get to the point where no one or group is misrepresented or has lost opportunities they truly deserve.