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Five surprise revelations from Flores lawsuit against NFL

The explosive lawsuit filed against the NFL on Tuesday by Brian Flores includes a number of shocking sections, from allegations of tanking to the widespread racism the former Miami Dolphins head coach alleges are behind hiring decisions.

The allegations in the suit name several specific teams while also placing widespread blame across the entire 32-team league. 

Flores, a well-regarded coach fired by the Miami Dolphins in January after three seasons in total and two winning seasons in a row, argues that the NFL “lives in a time of the past,” and is “rife with racism particularly when it comes to the hiring and retention of Black Head Coaches, Coordinators and General Managers.”

The NFL has denied the charges made in the Flores lawsuit, saying in a response that it was “deeply committed to ensuring equitable employment practices and continue to make progress in providing equitable opportunities throughout our organizations.”

Here are five of the biggest revelations from the suit.

Flores names three teams in alleging racism

Flores, who is Black, alleged that racially discriminatory actions were made against him by at least three specific NFL teams in his suit: the Miami Dolphins, the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos.

When Flores was fired in January, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said “key dynamics” of the team “weren’t functioning at a level I want it to be.”

Flores alleges that he was defamed in his firing and that the reasons that were given for his termination put forward a narrative of him being an “angry black man” which he described as having a “stigma a 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.

The Dolphins finished the season with a 9-8 record, narrowly missing a playoff berth.

He went on to claim that he was discriminated against by the Giants and the Broncos when he was made to go through a hiring process for positions the teams never intended on hiring him for.

All three teams have denied the charges. 

Bill Belichick text messages

Text messages between Flores and New England head coach Bill Belichick, perhaps the most celebrated NFL coach of all time, play a key role in the suit. 

Flores, a former assistant coach for the Patriots, interviewed after his firing by the Dolphins for an open head coach position with the New York Giants. 

In his suit, he argues he was brought in for an interview by the Giants so that the could comply with the Rooney Rule even though the team had already decided it would hire Buffalo Bills assistant coach Brian Daboll.

And Flores included private text messages with Belichick, in which the Patriots coach seemingly didn’t know who he was texting with, as proof.

In a text message to Flores — screenshots of which were included in the suit — Belichick wrote, “Sounds like you landed – congrats!!” in a reference to the Giants job.

Flores at first responded with gratitude for the apparent show of confidence, but later asked Belichick if he in fact meant to text Daboll, who was ultimately given the job. Flores noted that he was still to interview for the job and asked Belicheck is he had confused his Brians.

“Sorry – I f—ed this up. I double checked & misread the text. I think they are naming Daboll. I’m sorry about that,” Belichick responded.

Flores said in his suit that he was “forced to sit through a dinner with Joe Schoen, the Giant’s new General Manager, knowing that the Giants had already selected Mr. Daboll.”

He added that it was much worse having to “give an extensive interview for a job that he already knew he would not get—an interview that was held for no reason other than for the Giants to demonstrate falsely to the League Commissioner Roger Goodell and the public at large that it was in compliance with the Rooney Rule.”

In a statement provided to USA Today, the Giants said they were “pleased and confident” with their hiring process.

“The fact of the matter is, Brian Flores was in the conversation to be our head coach until the eleventh hour. Ultimately, we hired the individual we felt was most qualified to be our next head coach,” the team said.

Miami owner offered $100K per loss

According to Flores, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was unhappy with his performance because he was not doing more to lose games so that the Dolphins could improve their position in the NFL draft.

He said that Ross wanted him to “tank” the season in 2019 to put the team in position to secure the first pick in the draft.

“Indeed, during the 2019 season, Mr. Ross told Mr. Flores that he would pay him $100,000 for each game lost that year,” the suit states.

When the Dolphins began to win games, Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier allegedly told Flores that Ross was “mad” that the coach was “compromising [the team’s] draft position.”

“We vehemently deny any allegations of racial discrimination and are proud of the diversity and inclusion throughout our organization,” the Dolphins said in a statement shared by the NFL. “The implication that we acted in a manner inconsistent with the integrity of the game is incorrect.”

Alleged hungover Broncos officials

During his 2019 interview with the Broncos, Flores alleged that former Broncos General manager John Elway, Broncos CEO Joe Ellis and other members of the team’s management had clearly been drinking the night before the interview.

“They looked completely disheveled, and it was obvious that they had drinking heavily the night before,” his suit read. “It was clear from the substance of the interview that Mr. Flores was interviewed only because of the Rooney Rule, and that the Broncos never had any intention to consider him as a legitimate candidate for the job.”

The Broncos called Flores’s allegations “blatantly false” in a statement provided to USA Today and said their hiring process was “thorough and fair.”

“Our interview with Mr. Flores regarding our head coaching position began promptly at the scheduled time of 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 5, 2019, in a Providence, R.I., hotel,” the Broncos said. “There were five Broncos executives present for the interview, which lasted approximately three-and-a-half hours—the fully allotted time—and concluded shortly before 11 a.m.”

The mystery quarterback

Flores further alleged that Ross began pressuring him in 2019 to recruit a “prominent quarterback,” violating NFL rules on tampering.

As part of his efforts to pressure Ross into recruiting the unnamed quarterback, Ross allegedly invited the coach onto hs yacht in the winter of 2020, where the quarterback had also “conveniently” arrived.

“Obviously, Mr. Ross had attempted to ‘set up’ a purportedly impromptu meeting between Mr. Flores and the prominent quarterback. Mr. Flores refused the meeting and left the yacht immediately. After the incident, Mr. Flores was treated with disdain and held out as someone who was noncompliant and difficult to work with.”

Following this “set-up,” Flores alleged that he was “ostracized.”

The quarterback was not named in the suit.

 

Tags Bill Belichick Brian Daboll Brian Flores Denver Broncos John Elway Miami Dolphins National Football League New England Patriots Rooney Rule
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