Brian Flores Sues the NFL

Brian Flores was a huge success in the NFL as a head coach and found himself without a job, to the shock of many. Now he finally tried to help end the discrimination African-American head coaches have been feeling for decades in the NFL.

On the first day of February 2022, the NFL world was rocked on the eve of another Super Bowl and an offseason full of new coaches. Brian Flores sued the entire NFL, the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, and his former employer the Miami Dolphins. Flores is suing the league because of the practices of the league and how the owners/front offices of these teams have been abusing the Rooney Rule when it comes to the hiring of minority head coaches. It would not have happened if Bill Belichick had not accidentally texted Brian Flores instead of Brian Daboll, this was what set the current set of events.

Flores is focused on making his statement clear to the NFL and the sports world in general, he doesn’t care if he doesn’t get another job in sports again, he just wants change. The NFL’s Rooney Rule was brought in good faith by Dan Rooney (then owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers) in 2001, to have more minority hires in the league, up until that point there had been only a handful of Black head coaches and one Black general manager in the league and almost all of those coaches had been replaced or fired quickly. Since that time there has been a lot of minority head coaches hired and three Black head coaches have been in the Super Bowl with Lovie Smith, Tony Dungy, and Mike Tomlin. But once the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations started in the 2011 offseason, there have been fewer and less qualified minority hires. 

In the 2015 offseason, the league added incentives to the Rooney Rule, giving teams compensatory draft selections for minority candidates if they got hired. It was seen as a positive incentive as Lovie Smith, Marvin Lewis, Mike Tomlin, Jim Caldwell, Todd Bowles, and Hue Jackson all were head coaches in the NFL. But by the start of the 2021 season, there were only three Black head coaches in the league, and it was clear teams had been abusing the Rooney Rule. 

Brian Flores’ legal team lays all of the coaching candidates and head coaches that were doomed to fail or were brought in to check a box. It seemed like Brian Flores was the victim of these types of interviews where he wasn’t a serious candidate even using the Denver Broncos and John Elway as an example. He seemed angry at the fact he was being used as a token candidate for a bunch of jobs but never getting them. 

Now Flores has a 58-page lawsuit where he details all of his allegations and I would recommend reading it. It is a lawsuit with a lot of merits and it will continue to add more names to the list. There are hints that Hue Jackson, Eric Bieneimey, Mike Singletary, and plenty of other minority coaches will join the lawsuit in the coming months. These past two weeks have not been kind to the NFL as the Washington Football Team (now Commanders) had their sexual harassment and toxic work environment testimony, the Gruden lawsuit kicking into high gear soon, and now Flores.

It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out, the NFL is in trouble if Flores can pull out a bunch of coaches and players to support him in his cause. If Flores wins, expect a lot of changes to be made to the hiring processes and expect some teams to be up for sale.