Former NFL head coach Brian Flores has filed a lawsuit against the NFL alleging discrimination in its hiring practices. You can read the entire lawsuit below and we’ll drop in some of the significant details. It is a class action against the NFL and its 32 teams, and leaves open the opportunity for other unnamed similarly situated plaintiffs to join him.
The lawsuit opens with language from a text Flores received from his former boss Bill Belichick. In it, Belichick first congratulates him on being expected to get the New York Giants head coach job. However, it turns out Belichick thought he was texting Brian Daboll. The text came before Flores was scheduled to interview with the Giants, indicating the team had made up its mind and was simply interviewing him to provide a cover of diversity in their hiring process.
The lawsuit goes on to allege that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered him $100,000 for every team loss in a bid to get a higher draft pick. Ross was angered when the team started winning and hurting its draft position. Flores also alleges in 2019 Ross wanted him to recruit a “prominent quarterback in violation of League tampering rules”. The team has been connected to DeShaun Watson, but that was also Tom Brady’s last year with the New England Patriots, so that will get tongues wagging.
Additionally, Flores alleges Denver Broncos executives John Elway and Joe Ellis, among others, showed up to a 2019 head coach interview with him in a hung over state. He alleges the nature of the interview made it clear he was simply brought in to comply with the Rooney Rule before the Broncos would eventually hire Vic Fangio.
The lawsuit is led by Flores, but opens the door for other coaches to join in. He includes full sections on Jim Caldwell’s firing after winning seasons, a “double standard” of treatment against Steve Wilks, Teryl Austin not getting a chance, and the lack of opportunities for defensive coordinator Kris Richard and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
This is a significant decision by Flores. He was in the interview cycle following his firing and was believed to have a legit shot at being a head coach again in the fall. However, this lawsuit is likely to end that chance given how we saw the NFL treat Colin Kaepernick previously. These are just allegations at the moment, but it’s hard not to believe most of what he’s describing. And the Belichick text messages might be the necessary smoking gun.
You can read the full lawsuit below, or here.