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Brian Flores sues NFL, Giants, Dolphins for alleged racial discrimination | Fox News

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Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a class-action lawsuit against the team, NFL, and New York Giants for alleged racial discrimination on Tuesday.

“In making the decision to file the class action complaint today, I understand that I may be risking coaching the game that I love and that has done so much for my family and me,” Flores said in a statement. “My sincere hope is that by standing up against systematic racism in the NFL, others will join me to ensure that positive change is made for generations to come.”

Flores claims that when he interviewed for the Giants head coaching position, the team had already decided to hire now-former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. The revelation about Daboll came three days before Flores was scheduled to interview with the team.

Flores said that the Giants interview process was a “sham” and he was “humiliated.”

Head coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins on the sidelines in the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Hard Rock Stadium on October 03, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida.
(Mark Brown/Getty Images)

In a text message exchange, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick congratulated Flores for landing the job, thinking he was Daboll.

“Sorry – I f–ked this up,” Belichick allegedly wrote. “I double checked & I misread the text. I think they are naming Daboll. I’m sorry about that. BB.”

The Giants released a statement.

“We are pleased and confident with the process that resulted in the hiring of Brian Daboll,” the statement read. “We interviewed an impressive and diverse group of candidates. The fact of the matter is, Brian Flores was in the conversation to be our head coach until the eleventh hour. Ultimately, we hired the individual we felt was most qualified to be our next head coach.”

Chairman of the Board/Managing General Partner Stephen M. Ross, Head coach Brian Flores, and General Manager Chris Grier pose for a photograph after Flores was introduced as the new head coach of the Miami Dolphins on February 4, 2019 at the Miami Dolphins training facility in Davie, Florida.
(Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

The NFL released a statement regarding the class-action lawsuit.

“The NFL and our clubs are deeply committed to ensuring equitable employment practices and continue to make progress in providing equitable opportunities throughout our organizations. Diversity is core to everything we do, and there are few issues on which our clubs and our internal leadership team spend more time. We will defend against these claims, which are without merit.”

Flores also alleges that prior to getting the Dolphins head coaching gig, he previously interviewed with the Denver Broncos, and claims that then-general manager John Elway showed up to the interview an hour late and appeared to be hungover. Flores claims that he was interviewed for that job because of the Rooney Rule, which is an NFL policy that requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching positions. Flores believes he was never a real candidate for the job.

The Broncos put out a statement regarding the accusations against them. 

“The allegations from Brian Flores directed toward the Denver Broncos in today’s court filing are blatantly false,” the team said. “Our interview with Mr. Flores regarding our head coaching position began promptly at the scheduled time of 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 5, 2019, in a Providence, R.I., hotel. There were five Broncos executives present for the interview, which lasted approximately three-and-a-half hours—the fully allotted time—and concluded shortly before 11 a.m.

“Pages of detailed notes, analysis and evaluations from our interview demonstrate the depth of our conversation and sincere interest in Mr. Flores as a head coaching candidate.

“Our process was thorough and fair to determine the most qualified candidate for our head coaching position. The Broncos will vigorously defend the integrity and values of our organization—and its employees—from such baseless and disparaging claims.”

Flores, who spent three seasons as the head coach of the Dolphins and led the team to back-to-back winning years, was fired at the conclusion of the 2021 NFL regular season. According to the claim, Flores refused his owner’s order to “tank” for the first pick in the draft. During the 2019 season, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross allegedly told Flores that he would pay him $100,000 for every loss, and the team’s general manager Chris Grier told Flores that “Steve” was “mad” that Flores was winning games.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) talks to head coach Brian Flores during the first half of a NFL preseason football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

According to the claim, following the conclusion of the 2019 season, Ross pressured Flores to recruit a “prominent quarterback” in violation of the league’s tampering rules.

Flores, however, refused to comply with these improper orders. In the winter of 2020, Ross invited Flores onto a yacht for lunch and told him that the “prominent quarterback” was “conveniently” arriving at the marina. Shortly after he arrived, Flores left the meeting and the yacht immediately. Following the incident, Flores was treated with disdain and held out as someone who was noncompliant and difficult to work with.

The Dolphins also released a statement on the matter.

“We are aware of the lawsuit through the media reports that came out this afternoon,” the Dolphins said. “We vehemently deny any allegations of racial discrimination and are proud of the diversity and inclusion throughout our organization. The implication that we acted in a manner inconsistent with the integrity of the game is incorrect. We will be withholding further comment on the lawsuit at this time.”

Douglas H. Wigdor and John Elefterakis, who are both representing Flores in the lawsuit released a statement on the issue.

“On the first day of Black History Month, it is our great privilege to represent Brian Flores in his class action complaint against the NFL,” the attorneys said. “This case seeks to level the playing field in the hope that future owners and coaches will be representative of the athletes who are playing this great game.  We fully expect coaches and players of all races to support Brian as he embarks on his journey to create positive change.”

Flores, who was a former defensive coordinator for the Patriots under Belichick, had a 24-25 record in three years with the Dolphins, and his firing was viewed by many as a surprise across the league.

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