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Brian Flores’ discrimination lawsuit against the NFL and three teams is allowed to proceed to court thanks to a federal judge.
At the beginning of 2022, Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a discrimination lawsuit against the NFL and three teams claiming hiring practices were rooted in racism. In the discrimination lawsuit, Flores accused Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross of offering him $100,000 for every loss in an effort to tank for the #1 draft pick during the 2019 NFL season.
The suit includes texts he alleges are from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick demonstrating that the New York Giants conducted an interview with Flores while knowing that they already intended to hire Brian Daboll as head coach.
On Wednesday a federal judge rejected the option of arbitration, clearing the way for the lawsuit to head to trial.
Judge calls out NFL
In her written decision, Judge Valerie Caproni wrote that the NFL’s “long history of systematic discrimination toward Black players, coaches, and managers is very troubling.”
At the time of the lawsuit, there was only one Black head coach in the NFL out of 32 teams, despite 70% of the league’s players being Black.
In his final two seasons with the Miami Dolphins, Flores led the team to 10-6 and 9-8 records.
Flores was joined in his discrimination lawsuit by Steve Wilks and Ray Horton, a former Arizona Cardinals head coach and an NFL assistant who interviewed for a head coach position respectively.
Judge Caproni ruled that the claims brought by Steve Wilks and Ray Horton must go through arbitration.
The discrimination lawsuit shines “an unflattering spotlight on the employment practices of the NFL,” Judge Caproni said in her written decision. “Although the clear majority of professional football players are Black, only a tiny percentage of coaches are Black.”