The Miami Dolphins once again find themselves in the middle of a scandal. Late Tuesday afternoon, reports were confirmed that former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is suing the NFL in a federal class-action racial discrimination lawsuit.
Per the lawsuit, owner Stephen Ross is at the center of the issues in Miami. Flores alleges that Ross offered 100k per loss incurred in 2019. Also, Flores calls Ross out for trying to make him violate league tampering rules to recruit an elite level QB to Miami. That quarterback is – according to reports by the Palm Beach Post’s Joe Schad – Tom Brady. Brady, obviously, went on to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers instead.
Tom Brady was the quarterback Stephen Ross allegedly wanted Brian Flores to meet in an alleged yacht meeting before Brady was a free agent according to a league source
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) February 1, 2022
Beyond the Dolphins, Flores implicates the Giants and the Broncos. The lawsuit alleges that the New York Giants had already chosen Brian Daboll as their head coach before Flores had the chance to interview for the job. Texts from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick are cited, congratulating Flores for earning the job when the texts were intended for Daboll.
Here are the texts: pic.twitter.com/WjdLNRxfO1
— Alex Weprin (@alexweprin) February 1, 2022
As for the Broncos, Flores states that then-GM John Elway and President Joe Ellis arrived an hour late to the interview, extremely hungover. This indicated to Brian Flores that the Broncos never took him as a serious candidate before they hired Vic Fangio, who is white.
Flores was still considered a finalist for the Houston Texans job before filing this lawsuit. In doing so, he may have destroyed any potential he had to coach in the NFL again, as he may be viewed as a pariah now. However, Flores soon issued a statement after the news broke, stating he understands the implications. He is also prepared for any potential consequences.
Brian Flores acknowledges this lawsuit could put his career in jeopardy, but says in a statement that he is taking on systemic racism in NFL: “the need for change is bigger than my personal goals” pic.twitter.com/xsJiaRPZH9
— John Chandler (@JohnChandlerNBC) February 1, 2022
Flores’s lawsuit could rock the NFL to its very core. This will undoubtedly lead to an investigation and many, many lawyers will be involved given the seriousness of the implication. Reports are coming out that other minority coaching candidates could potentially join Flores in his cause. They can testify their own experiences in interviewing for jobs. Jobs they knew they would not get.
This sort of situation is precisely what the Rooney Rule – which mandates that all NFL teams must interview at least one minority candidate for job openings – was supposed to prevent. However, it seems to have only exacerbated the issue.
Naturally, the accused parties are pushing back against the accusations. The Miami Dolphins issued a statement refuting Flores’s claims against them.
Statement from the Miami dolphins pic.twitter.com/OCpKuN3d19
— Jacob Meshel (@fins_dynasty) February 1, 2022
The New York Giants and the NFL as a whole sent out similar statements.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) February 1, 2022
NFL statement on Brian Flores’ lawsuit: pic.twitter.com/LaJVJuw3gS
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 1, 2022
From a broader standpoint, the entire NFL will have its hands full for the foreseeable future. Many have accused the NFL for not seriously considering minority candidates for decades. Now, this lawsuit will put the league under an uncomfortable microscope.
This situation will be watched carefully over the coming weeks. It is yet to be determined how potential coaches or even players will respond to this scandal.
Luis Sung has covered the Miami Dolphins for numerous outlets such as Dolphins Wire for seven years. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung