The NFL has descended on Palm Beach, Florida, for the owners meetings. Giants owner John Mara was asked about the Brian Flores discrimination lawsuit in which his team was named. Mara said he has no interest in settling because the allegations of unfair hiring practices due to race are not true.
“We hired a new general manager, a new coach, (we’ve) been sued,” said Mara.
Mara said he has no intention of settling the lawsuit “because the allegations are false.”
“We’re very comfortable with our hiring process. It was a fair process, and we ended up making the decision that we made based on a lot of factors, none of which had to do with race.”
John Mara on the Brian Flores lawsuit. “Not settling it.”
Why not? Allegations are not true, Mara says. He insists Giants did not have anyone communicate their intentions with Bill Belichick.
Mara said he hasn’t spoken to Belichick since joint-practices last summer.
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) March 27, 2022
What else was Mara going to say? “Yeah, we planned on hiring Brian Daboll all along, but we had to adhere to the Rooney Rule”?
That’s the problem with the rule. Once you satisfy it, there is no recourse.
But the allegations made in Flores’ suit are supported by text messages Flores allegedly received from New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Messages that were sent by mistake to Flores congratulating him on getting the Giants head coaching position before it was announced.
The problem there is the text was meant for a different Brian. Daboll was also a former Patriots assistant, and he was whom Belichick meant to text. Flores decided to pursue legal action as he had not even completed his interview process when Belichick allegedly sent the text.
Belichick was a Giants assistant coach from 1979-1990 and has strong ties to the organization. Mara likes to think of the Giants as a family organization and many of the people on the inside have been there for decades. It’s not impossible that Belichick has sources inside the organization, despite Mara’s denials.
I haven’t spoken or communicated with Bill since we played them in the preseason last summer,” Mara said. “And to my knowledge, nobody in our organization communicated with him, either. I have no idea. You’ll have to ask him that. I think the truth will come out eventually. He didn’t speak to anybody in our organization.”
We are a long way away from this legal matter being close to resolved. If the text messages are valid and it is somehow discovered that Belichick did speak to someone inside the Giants organization, it would be a very bad look for Mara.
It will be difficult to prove that the Giants used race as a factor in their head coaching process. But that doesn’t negate the fact that the NFL and its 32 teams have a horrendous record when it comes to matters of racial discrimination.
Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the league’s poor track record on diversity and inclusion in his Super Bowl LVI press conference in February.
“We look at the same numbers,” Goodell said when asked about the number of franchises in the 102 year history of the league that haven’t had at least one Black head coach. “They are part of the effort in looking at how do we become more effective in our policies and procedures. We work really hard. We believe in diversity, we believe in it as a value. … We just have to do a better job. We have to look is there another thing we can do to make sure we’re attracting that best talent and making our league inclusive.”