Court Battles

NFL hires ex-Obama AG Loretta Lynch as counsel on racial discrimination suit

Stefani Reynolds

The NFL has hired former Attorney General Loretta Lynch as counsel for its racial discrimination lawsuit against former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores.

In a statement to The Hill, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy confirmed the hiring of Lynch. 

“Yes. The league retained the Paul Weiss firm to represent the league and named clubs,” McCarthy said on Wednesday. “Loretta Lynch and Brad Karp will lead the defense.”

Sources told Bloomberg Law on Wednesday that Lynch had been hired as counsel on the case along with Brad Karp, the chairman of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Lynch, who ran the Department of Justice under the Obama administration for two years, joined that firm as a partner in 2019. 

Lynch was appointed in 2020 to work on an inquiry about the workplace misconduct claims involving the Washington Commanders franchise, according to Bloomberg. 

The Paul Weiss firm has a close relationship with the NFL, as Karp has handled the league’s concussion and benefits litigation in past years. According to Bloomberg Law data, the firm has handled 25 percent of the league’s cases in U.S. federal courts since 2007. 

Flores earlier this month filed a lawsuit against the NFL and three teams: Miami, which fired him as coach at the end of the last NFL season, the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos. He alleges race discrimination in hiring practices. 

The NFL and the teams named in the case have all pushed back against the allegations. 

The league also announced it is investigating Flores’s claims that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered him $100,000 per loss during the 2019 season in hopes the team would have a high draft pick in the 2020 NFL draft. 

If the league finds evidence that Ross did offer Flores money to lose games, Ross could face severe disciplinary actions, including losing ownership of the Dolphins by a vote of fellow owners. 

The NFL has long been criticized for the paucity of Black head coaches in a league where the majority of players are Black. 

Only two NFL teams now have Black head coaches. Mike McDaniel, who was just hired as the Dolphins head coach, identifies as multiracial. 

Updated 5:21 p.m.

Tags Brian Flores lawsuit Loretta Lynch Miami Dolphins NFL

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