In a league that is nearly 70 percent African American, there are only three coaches of color to represent the majority of players in the National Football League.
Former Miami Dolphins coach, Brian Flores is trying to change that.
However, instead of fighting the league on the field, he’s taking his battle to the courts.
Flores recently amended his lawsuit to include the Houston Texans, adding to the claims of racial injustice already filed against the Denver Broncos, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins and the NFL.
There is a growing belief around the NFL that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross will be forced to sell the team due to claims made by Flores.
In the lawsuit, Flores states that Ross offered him an extra $100,000 per Dolphins loss in the 2019 NFL season. Flores claims this was done by Ross in order for the Dolphins to get a higher draft pick in the following year’s draft.
This claim of match-fixing by Flores is just a footnote in the lawsuit, as the statements of racial discrimination are prevalent throughout.
The suit depicts an abuse of the Rooney Rule, a process set in place to provide black coaches and front office members more opportunities to coach in the NFL.
The Rooney Rule requires all NFL teams to interview at least one African American candidate when they have a head coaching vacancy, and two African Americans for general manager positions. Flores interviewed with four NFL teams after being fired by the Dolphins, which fulfilled the teams’ Rooney Rule requirement.
However, Flores is claiming that when he interviewed for these head coaching vacancies, the jobs were already predetermined. Flores believes this was racial discrimination as his interviews were just another box for the teams to check off.
Flores cited text messages with New England Patriots coach, Bill Belichick, as evidence for his lawsuit.
In the messages, Belichick appeared to congratulate Flores on being named the head coach of the New York Giants. However, Belichick meant to text Brian Daboll, whom the Giants eventually hired for the job. Belichick also sent this congratulatory text to Flores before he had even interviewed for the job.
This revelation insinuated that the Giants Head Coaching choice had been predetermined and that Flores was only granted an interview to fulfill the Giants Rooney Rule requirement.
Flores is prepared to prove this by taking the biggest sports league in the world head-on and is willing to risk everything by doing so.
“I understand that I may be risking coaching the game that I love,” Flores told ESPN after filing the lawsuit.
While Flores appears to be shut out of a head coaching job at this time, multiple minority coaches appear to be finding their way into NFL locker rooms.
Just days after the Flores allegations the final two NFL head coaching vacancies were filled by black coaches in Miami’s Mike McDaniels, and Houston’s Lovie Smith.
This is where the latest developments of the lawsuit come into play, as Flores was reportedly the front runner for the Texans job before filing the lawsuit against the league.
However, it appears that Flores won’t be completely shut out of an NFL locker room, as this past weekend Flores was announced as an assistant defensive coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This story has captured the attention of the sports fans throughout the Cabrini student body, specifically within the athletic department.
“It’s just unfortunate that Flores has to risk his entire livelihood in order to provide more opportunities for African Americans,” Jalen Hammond, junior computer and science information student, said.
Hammond expressed a sentiment that it is disheartening that in a league of mostly African American players, there are few coaches to represent the majority population in African Americans.
The NFL prides itself in preaching diversity, and league commissioner Roger Goodell has already taken steps to ensure this.
This past week, Goodell and multiple team owners meet with civil rights leaders to discuss the situation. In the meeting, the main topic of conversation was how the league can achieve diversity in their hiring practices.
As the situation continues to unfold, it remains to be seen if Brian Flores will ever be granted a head coaching position in the NFL again.