The NFL has navigated several controversies throughout their history with some of the most notable scandals featuring team spying, player issues concerning domestic violence and social justice, and deflated footballs.
However, former Miami Dolphins head coach, Brian Flores, may have dropped the biggest bombshell of them yet citing racism and discrimination in the league’s hiring and firing process, and requests to purposefully lose games for money.
On February 1st, Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFL and three teams (the Dolphins, Broncos and Giants) with the intent to create change among team owners and league officials, and promote greater representation.
“I know many very capable black coaches. Some of my staff who I know if given an opportunity or when given an opportunity are going to go and do a great job on their interview, and I would just hate for that to be a waste,” Flores said. “We need to change the hearts and minds of the people making those decisions, that’s why we filed the lawsuit.”
Shortly after he was hired by Miami in 2019, Flores alleged that Dolphins owner, Stephen Ross incentivized him to “throw” games with the promise of 100,000 dollars for every loss. Later that season, Flores also said that the general manager, Chris Grier, became upset at him for ruining the team’s draft position after a stretch of wins.
Flores was fired on January 10th despite recording the Dolphins’ first back-to-back winning seasons since 2003.
Amidst the match fixing contention, former head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 2016-2018, Hue Jackson, publicly stated he experienced similar conditions to that of Flores and was encouraged to intentionally cause defeat for his organization.
“There was a four-year plan that was crafted, and I have documentation of that,” Jackson said. “I think any coach would kind of cringe if they saw it because it talked about things that had nothing to do with winning.”
Jackson’s record during his time with the Browns was 3-36-1.
Speaking on his interviewing experiences, Flores stated his opportunity to win the Giants’ head coaching vacancy last month was a “sham”. He believes the New York organization choose to interview him with the sole purpose of satisfying the NFL Rooney’s Rule which requires teams to interview at least one external minority candidate for a general manager or head-coach opening.
The Giants went on to hire former Bills offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, just one day after Flores’s interview.
The former Patriots assistant also had an untraditional interviewing experience with the Broncos in 2019. Flores said that John Elway, the former Denver general manager, arrived to the interview an hour late and hungover implying heaving drinking the prior night.
With the aim to highlight racial injustice in common NFL practices, Flores said he would like to see a greater influence of black individuals in the hiring and firing process, and have transparency of pay for managers, coaches, and coordinators.
“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,” Flores said.
While Flores may have sacrificed his coaching future in the NFL, the decision to create a lawsuit against the league and organizations that have conducted false practices is one that is absolutely necessary and can hopefully lead to greater diversity and financial clarity moving forward.