ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith has never been afraid to voice his opinion, no matter how controversial or jaw-dropping. On a recent episode of ESPN’s “First Take” the loquacious Smith discussed the NFL and its owners.
His first words were, “the NFL has no desire to give Black coaches a chance,” and that toxic environment isn’t created by just the teams, but the league as well.
“The NFL, because of their pervasive tendencies, has essentially given a license to black [executives/head coaches] to sit up there and say, Let me look for every black candidate I can find. Because, guess what, y’all ain’t trying to give them a fair shake. Y’all ain’t trying to give them a fair opportunity. So let me make sure I do it. That is the environment that has widely been created by the teams. … But it certainly has been created by the league.”
Brian Flores reaction pic.twitter.com/wdLBtoe2To
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) February 2, 2022
A Civil Rights Issue?
Smith even called it a civil rights issue, because stadiums are being built with publicly allocated funds. He believes the owners created this conundrum themselves.
He wasn’t done ranting, as he’d go on to say the following:
“Which is why you now have civil rights activist meetings where Roger can tell you what the numbers are, telling you how pervasive the situation is. Telling you how desperate things need to be done to address the situation. And remember, it is a civil rights issue. Because public funding contributes to the new stadiums. Twenty-plus since 1997. The NFL teams, the vast majority of these owners have brought this on themselves.”
Flores Says No To Separation Deal
New developments keep arising in the Flores suit. Brian Flores said on HBO’s “Real Sports” that he declined to sign a separation deal with the Dolphins when he was fired. Flores claims that the “agreement would have really silenced me.”
Flores has said the agreement would have prevented him from filing any lawsuits or speaking badly about the team to the media
His lawyers say Flores left millions of dollars on the table, which proves his integrity in the matter and the authentic goal to get justice and change the systemic culture that has plagued NFL hiring practices.
“It wasn’t about the money,” Flores’ lawyer told Bryant Gumbel. “If it was about the money, he would have signed it. What he did instead was file the lawsuit so he could help other coaches now and in the future.”
The Dolphins denied the allegations, as expected.
Flores’ legal team provided screenshots of the purported agreement and tweeted them out, making Miami look questionable. It’s an ugly situation that continues to get uglier.
In response to the #Dolphins calling Brian Flores' assertion of an NDA "categorically false," below are screenshots from the draft agreement & payment termination notice.
— WigdorLaw (@WigdorLaw) February 23, 2022
Brian Flores Situation Still Festering: No End In Sight
Ross fired Brian Flores in January after three seasons and a 24-25 record. A couple weeks later, Flores filed a lawsuit against the league and three NFL teams (Dolphins, Giants and Broncos) alleging discriminatory hiring practices. The hiring practices are allegedly for head coaches, offensive coordinators, defensive coordinators and general managers. Although the league currently has a record seven Black general managers, that has never been the norm.
The league has a problem hiring African-American coaches, as there are just two Black coaches in the entire NFL, Mike Tomlin (Steelers) and Lovie Smith (Texans). New Dolphins head coach Mike McDonald is biracial but he obviously doesn’t ride with that side. Tomlin just completed his 15th season in Pittsburgh, and he’s never had a losing season. He’s led the franchise to the postseason 10 times in those 15 seasons, while compiling 154 regular-season wins and eight postseason victories.
Tomlin and the Steelers recently hired Flores as senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach. This while Flores has an open and ongoing lawsuit against the league.
i don’t think anyone is celebrating Brian Flores’ demotion. honestly, it’s more of a ‘celebration’ (which isn’t even the right word) of him not being black-balled in the midst of a lawsuit against the NFL. him still coaching leaves the door open for him to be a HC again one day
— Ashley Nicole Moss (@AshNicoleMoss) February 19, 2022
Tomlin On Flores Hiring With A Lawsuit Against League Ongoing:
If anyone has the clout and respect to hire Flores in the midst of what’s going on, it’s Mike Tomlin, who’s arguably the greatest Black coach to ever grace an NFL sideline.
“I am excited about Brian Flores joining our coaching staff, given his history of developing and teaching defensive players during his time in the NFL.”
1. The lawsuit is still on.
2. Mike Tomlin: “I am excited about Brian Flores joining our coaching staff given his history of developing and teaching defensive players during his time in the NFL.”
3. Not that Flores needs it, but good look at a new way of doing things. https://t.co/lBy6ILnOH1
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 19, 2022
The Rooney Rule was named after the Steelers owners, so them being OK with bringing in Flores amidst this situation isn’t all that surprising. It’s time the league changed its hiring practices. Many believed that Flores sacrificed his career for the betterment of others, which should be commended.
We all know that Kaepernick worked out a financial deal with the NFL which prevented him from speaking negatively about the league or pursuing any further legal action. He’s been criticized for this by a number of haters. Flores is fortunate to have a Mike Tomlin on his side, which evens out the scales, as SAS noted.
Right now, the Flores lawsuit is a bunch of accusations and denials and counter-accusations, which is to be expected. The more you look at this situation, the more Flores looks like a man of integrity and the more the Dolphins organization looks like liars. They have been vehement in denying everything he’s accused them of from the beginning, with no middle ground. That sounds like panic coming right from the top. Stephen Ross probably feels like those walls closing in.
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