Raise your hand if you had Brian Flores suing the NFL and three of its franchises for discrimination in hiring in the office pool …
He’s making some damning allegations, but with the NFL’s current track record on everything from race relations to minority hires, the sports world is listening.
Former Dolphins coach Brian Flores, whose lawsuit accuses the NFL of racism in hiring coaches, tells #CBSMornings: “We’re at a fork in the road right now. We’re either gonna keep it the way it is, or we’re gonna go in another direction and actually make some real change.” pic.twitter.com/8n4nTBlPIc
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) February 2, 2022
The former Miami Dolphins head coach filed a 58-page class action lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on Feb. 1, alleging discrimination regarding his interview processes with the Denver Broncos and New York Giants and his firing last month by the Dolphins.
The lawsuit claims the Giants violated the league’s Rooney rule covering inclusive hiring in picking their next head coach. Included in Flores’ complaint are screenshots of alleged text messages in which New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick informed Flores that the Giants had already chosen Brian Daboll to be their new head coach while Flores was preparing to meet with Giants general manager Joe Schoen.
If true, that’s damning evidence. But are we really surprised? The Rooney rule and any other type of mandate that tries to create diversity often proves futile, because of the subjective nature of the hiring process.
Let’s assume Flores never filed this lawsuit and Belichick never allegedly sent those text messages. The Giants interviewed Leslie Frazier (Black), Flores (Black), Patrick Graham (Black), Brian Daboll (white), Dan Quinn (white) and Lou Anarumo (white) for their vacant head coaching position.
That’s six candidates split evenly along the Black/White racial line. Frazier and Daboll both received second interviews. All things being even (which we know they’re not) it was a 50-50 shot either a Black man or white man was hired.
Again, absent any hard proof, how can someone prove not getting hired was the result of racial discrimination? All franchises have to do is bring in an equal number of minority and white candidates and make sure that an equal number of both receive second interviews and the rule is satisfied.
An “equal opportunity” was provided, but yet again an NFL team tells on itself with the outcome of this opportunity.
Until now, potentially, what every conscious person who pays attention to the NFL franchises’ hiring practices knew to be true can be called out and the perpetrators of these injustices can be held to account.
If the screenshots of the alleged text messages from Belichick are verified, that’s the smoking gun. Informing Flores, who had yet to have his interview, that the Giants had already selected Daboll as the head coach proves the interview process was a sham.
NFL owners are primarily older white conservative men. Diversity and inclusion is not something they particularly care about or are interested in. The NFL and by extension its owners and decision makers harbor many of the same beliefs that this nation was founded on.
They value the Black body as a means of production, profit, labor and capital. But have no regard for the Black mind. How do we know this? Look at how they talk about prospects at the quarterback position every single year during NFL draft season.
White quarterback prospects are often referred to as heady and great leaders. They can go through their progressions and read defenses.
Black quarterback prospects can make plays with their legs, are natural athletes and raw talents.
The implications are obvious. White quarterbacks think the game and Black quarterbacks play it. That line of thinking extends to the coordinator level. White offensive coordinators are often referred to as geniuses and innovators.
The few Black offensive coordinators are called players coaches or derided for lack of play calling responsibilities.
Offensive coordinator is often the prerequisite to becoming a head coach. Every offseason we hear about all the bright coordinators (often white) who are ready to become head coaches.
How is it that four-year Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Daboll got a head coaching opportunity before Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator and play-caller Eric Bieniemy? All the latter has done is go to four straight conference championships, including two Super Bowls, and winning one.
Flores’ lawsuit alleges Dolphins owner Stephen Ross attempted to incentivize him to purposely lose games after he was hired in 2019. Ross allegedly offered Flores $100,000 for every loss that season. Flores says that as the team won games late in the season, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier told him Ross was “mad” that Flores’ on-field success was “compromising [the team’s] draft position.”
Imagine that? You get hired to be a head coach, you are good at your job and your boss is mad at you.
Flores’ lawsuit has the potential to be groundbreaking and fundamentally change how NFL teams conduct their business. But in filing Flores has all but killed his NFL career, and he knows it.
“God has gifted me with a special talent to coach the game of football, but the need for change is bigger than my personal goals,” Flores said in a statement released by his attorneys. “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.”
For any worthwhile change to occur, great sacrifices must be made. That’s the history of human civilization. Flores has put his dream and livelihood on the line with the hopes that things will be better for others like him in the future.
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