Brian Flores says his lawsuit against the NFL over alleged racist hiring practices will continue even as he becomes head coach again this offseason.
Flores interviewed Texas Houston and New Orleans Saints, who have yet to fill their coaching vacancies. When they call, Flores will listen, but he said the lawsuit will be continued because the league needs change.
“It’s about changing the practice of hiring in the National Football League, and that’s what the court is about,” Flores told CNN on Wednesday. “I want to coach football, that’s what I’m called for.”
Flores said he knows others have similar stories and that it’s hard to tell. He called his potential victim more than football or coaching. The NFL is at a fork, he said.
“We’ll stay the way we are, or go the other way and make some changes where we’re actually changing the hearts and minds of those who make decisions about hiring head coaches, executives and so on,” Flores told CBS. . “That’s what we need to come up with. We need to change hearts and minds.”
Flores’ lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court. It demands collective lawsuit status and indefinite losses from the Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos and New York Giants, as well as unidentified individuals.
The NFL, Dolphins, Broncos and Giants have denied Flores’ charges. In a statement, the NFL said it would defend “against these claims, which are unfounded.”
The 40-year-old Flores was fired last month from Miami after bringing the Dolphins to a record of 24-25 in three years. They went 9-8 for the second winning season in a row but were unable to reach the playoffs during his tenure.
According to the lawsuit, Dolphin owner Stephen Ross told Flores that he would pay him $ 100,000 for each loss during the coach’s first season because he wanted the club to “tackle” so he could get a better pick on the draft.
The lawsuit alleges that Ross then pressured Flores to hire a well-known quarterback in violation of the league’s falsification rules. When Flores refused, he was cast as an “angry black man” who is difficult to work with and ridiculed until he was fired, the lawsuit said.
Flores said he had conversations with general manager Chris Gray that Ross was upset that Miami was jeopardizing his position in the draft by winning too many games. Flores said he also spoke repeatedly to Ross, who said the team didn’t need to win and the coach acted under contract.
“It’s not what you’re making up,” Flores said of the conversation.
What prompted Flores to file a lawsuit was a series of text messages with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick three days before his scheduled Giants interview, which led Flores to believe that Brian Deball had already been selected as the new coach.
“It was humiliating to be honest,” Flores said. “There was mistrust, there was anger, there was a wave of emotions for many reasons. I think that’s why we sued. “
Since the NFL introduced the Rooney rule in 2003 to increase the hiring of coaches from minorities, 27 of the 127 head coach vacancies have moved to minorities. This year, white men took the first four of the nine head coach jobs.
The rule requires teams to interview at least two external minority candidates for the positions of CEO / Executive Officer of Football Operations, Head Coach and all Coordinators. At least one of these interviews must be conducted in person for any opening head coach or CEO.
Tony Dangi, a member of the Professional Football Hall of Fame who was the head coach of Tampa Bay and Indianapolis, told the Associated Press last month that Rooney’s goal with the rule was to slow down the recruitment process and investigate various candidates, not just interview minority candidates before the announcement. rent.
“He wanted to create a process of finding candidates, not a quota for interviews,” Dangi said. “I hope the owners are very specific about what they are looking for and then get them to really research different people before making a decision.”
Teryl Austin, a senior assistant defense coach from Pittsburgh with single NFL head coach Black under Mike Tomlin, has been interviewed in 11 non-hiring head coach positions. In October, he spoke to the AP about the hiring process in the NFL and said that the interview is an “invaluable experience” and that the rule exposes black candidates to the owners.
Flores’ lawsuit mentions Austin as a man who was “never given a chance” among coaches who unsuccessfully interviewed for the position of head coach.
Yes, Austin could tell if the interview was valid or just scratched the Rooney Rule box.
“I could tell if I was really into it,” Austin said. “And so for me it’s kind of worth it.”
Flores said he understands that the lawsuit could prevent him from ever training again. He is called Rosa Parks of the NFL when he takes on the practice of hiring in the league, and Flores called it a derogatory comparison.
“It gives me more confidence that we have made the right decision here and that we need to continue to fight for these changes,” Flores said.