Sports

Brian Flores Sues NFL Over Discrimination

By: Kristen L. Wagner

Brian Flores has sued the NFL and three individual teams – the Dolphins, Broncos, and Giants – for alleged racial discrimination during the interview process with the Broncos and Giants, as well as firing by Miami.

The lawsuit is 58 pages long, filed in Manhattan federal court earlier this month.

Flores alleges that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross attempted to incentivize him to intentionally lose games with large amounts of money, up to $100,000 for every loss that season.

According to Flores, as the teams began to win games late in the season, Ross was “mad” that the on-field success was “compromising the team’s draft position.”

Additionally, Flores claims that Ross pressured him into recruiting a “prominent quarterback” at the end of the 2019 season, which the coach refused in order to avoid violating the NFL’s tampering rules.

Ross continued to invite Flores to a meeting on a yacht, where the alleged quarterback conveniently happened to attend as well. Flores refused the meeting and left the yacht.

He was fired Jan. 10 despite recording the Dolphins’ first back-to-back winning seasons since 2003.

Flores also alleged that the Giants interviewed for a potential coaching position for no reason other than to comply with the NFL’S Rooney Rule, which is the requirement for NFL teams to interview minority candidates for available positions.

A similar situation allegedly occurred with the Broncos. Flores claims that the then-Denver general manager John Elway, among others, arrived an hour late to his interview for the head-coaching position and was visibly hungover.

The Giants, Dolphins, and Broncos responded separately to these allegations.

The Giants said they were “pleased and confident” throughout their hiring process.

The Dolphins denied the allegations against them, while noting they are proud of the diversity portrayed throughout their organization. They also denied allegations suggesting they violated the integrity of football.

The Broncos detailed their interview with Flores, beginning promptly at 7:30 and lasting roughly three and a half hours with five team executives present.

According to an article by ESPN, 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.”

With college students at The University of Tampa preparing to enter the career world, it is important to acknowledge issues of systematic racism, especially with the hiring process so relevant and applicable to the lives of students.

“It’s definitely an issue that deserves more attention,” said Karolyn Merch, sophomore criminology major. “As a student athlete on the swim team myself, I can understand how systematic racism gets pushed under the rug sometimes. It happens more than we think. It’s been so ingrained into our society, sometimes it happens and we don’t even notice.”

Karolyn Merch is not only a member of the swim team, but a loyal football fan. 

“I love watching football, and to know that there is even a slight possibility that games are being tampered with and coaches are being taken advantage of in that sense is infuriating,” said Merch. “It’s important to know these things, even if what Flores is saying is dramaticized, because it truly does happen in the real world.”Douglas Wigdor, a lawyer for Flores, told the New York Times that the law firm is looking into allegations from other coaches who could contribute to the lawsuit.

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