On February 1st, the former head coach of the Miami Dolphins who was fired on January 10th of this year Brian Flores has filed a Class Action Complaint with the Manhattan Federal Court naming the defendants as the National Football League, the Miami Dolphins, LTD.; the New York Football Giants, INC.; and the Denver Broncos.
One of the most shocking claims is that Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross had offered to pay Brian Flores $100,000 for every loss the team would have in 2019, the year Flores was hired, in order to tank and draft a premier quarterback who would have ended up being Joe Burrow. Not only is this claim incriminating, but it's one that could end Ross's tenure as owner of the franchise if found to be true. Ross came out on February 2nd with the claim that Flores allegations are "false" and that Ross will be fully cooperative with the investigation.
Another defendant of this lawsuit is the Denver Broncos. Flores, citing a Head Coach interview conducted in 2019 before Flores accepted the Miami job, claims that the team that met Flores for his interview, consisting of former Broncos GM John Elway and current CEO Joe Ellis, "showed up an hour late to the interview," and that
Flores suspected them of being "completely disheveled, and it was obvious that they had been drinking heavily the night before."
These claims are not proven, but whether they will be or not is a very bad look for the organization who would go on to hire Vic Fangio later in their cycle of 2019. This process is eerily similar to the Giants' "phony" interview to oblige the Rooney Rule but is even more unprofessional and careless if the drinking claims are proven to be true. Broncos General Manager John Elway has since come out and said that Flores' claims are "false and defamatory." Part of his full statement on February 3rd would say, "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 claims that if his appearance was disheveled it had to do with the fact that he had very hew hours of sleep due to his late flight the night before to Providence to make the only window possible to conduct the Flores interview. He also claims that there was another interview for the job right before said flight in Denver, adding support to his busy schedule that week. These statements make sense and cast doubt on to Flores' claims against the Broncos' organization that they did not take his hiring process seriously.
One of the biggest points of contention in this lawsuit was a text message conversation Flores had with his former boss Bill Belichick, the Head Coach of the New England Patriots. This conversation had to do with the New York Giants hiring a new head coach and Belichick mistaking their first-choice candidate Brian Daboll for Flores himself. The texts were released by Flores. The texts say:
Belichick: Sounds like you have landed - congrats!!
Flores: Did you hear something I didn't hear?
Flores: I interview Thursday
Flores: I think I have a shot at it
Belichick: Got it. I hear from Buffalo and NYG that you are their guy. Hope it works out if you want it to!!
Flores: That's definitely what I want! I hope you're right coach. Thank you.
Flores: Coach, are you talking to Brian Flores or
Brian Daboll. Just making sure. Belichick: Sorry - I f---ed this up. I double checked & I misread the text. I think they are naming Daboll.
I'm sorry about that. BB
Flores: Thanks Bill
This miscommunication is apparent on Belichick's side, but it stems the question; why would the Giants interview Flores two days after 'already making their decision' on hiring Daboll?' The speculated and prominent reason was to follow the Rooney Rule.
The Rooney Rule is a policy in the NFL that requires a team to interview at least one minority candidate for a head-coaching job, general manager position, or other front-office position, as stated by dictionary.com. The rule was originally implemented in 2003 to increase the number of minorities interviewed for head coaching jobs and other front office positions. However, it can be misused in team's practices, often times being followed and then forgotten.
Brian Flores is a tragic, but great example for this misuse of the rule.
The New York Giants are one of the only teams to have never hired a minority head coach, and with their newest hiring of Brian Daboll, will continue this fact for several more years. Even though they knew they were going to hire Daboll, they scheduled interviews and dinners with Flores just to oblige the Rooney Rule. Not only was this highly disrespectful to a coach of Flores' caliber, but it hindered his reputation in the league. Add to this fact that Bill Belichick was given this information and mistakenly contacted Flores to congratulate him and the lack of respect to Flores and other coaches of minority descent is apparent.
The matter of social justice is controversial to the NFL to say the least, however it is a movement and a fight that does not happen overnight and is worth every second and every struggle it produces. Brian Flores joins a list of people who are brave enough to speak out on issues of racial discrimination when it comes to the NFL and it's practices. At the time of this article publishing, there is only one African-American NFL Head Coach; Mike Tomlin, and only two others of minority decent; Ron Rivera and Robert Saleh.
Flores' lawsuit will hopefully shed light on the discriminatory practices around the Rooney Rule. Brian Flores has the experience, knowledge and more than a fair amount of capability to coach an NFL franchise, evident by becoming the first head coach for the Miami Dolphins to produce back-to-back winning season since 2003.
Flores is looking for the NFL to act and repair the damaging practices of the Rooney Rule and remedy a process that can be considered at best to be misused. He has also claimed that he will not drop these charges if he's hired on as a head coach.
These events will continue to unfold and as they do, we the people will gather more information that will be reportable. This lawsuit is expected to continue through a trial and with more people backing claims by Flores or adding their own such as Hue Jackson's claims in Cleveland, may get worse from a media perspective before it gets better.
Stay tuned at fansonlysportz.com for continued coverage of the events surrounding Brian Flores' lawsuit as they become reportable.
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