Could Other Coaches Be Joining The Brian Flores Lawsuit?
As news broke yesterday that Brian Flores has filed a class-action suit against the NFL and three teams, it sent shockwaves through the NFL.
The lawsuit alleges racial discrimination throughout the interview processes with the Denver Broncos and New York Giants and his firing by the Miami Dolphins last month.
Flores was fired in January by the Dolphins after leading them to an impressive 9-8 record in 2021 after an ugly 1-7 start. Flores was 24-25 in three years and was coming off of two consecutive winning seasons.
“Over the years, the NFL and its 32-member organizations have been given every chance to do the right thing. Rules have been implemented, promises made—but nothing has changed. The racial discrimination has only been made worse by the NFL’s disingenuous commitment to social equity,” the lawsuit states.
Other coaches were cited in the lawsuit, and it’s possible they could join, including former Texans head coach David Culley. Other coaches cited include Jim Caldwell, Steve Wilks, Kris Richard, Teryl Austin, Eric Bieniemy and Tony Dungy.
Culley was hired last offseason by the Texans in what was a rollercoaster offseason in Houston. Paired with the Deshaun Watson lawsuit and an ownership mess, Culley was given little margin for error.
The Texans unsurprisingly struggled this season, finishing 4-13. Culley was fired after the season. GM Nick Caserio cited “philosophical differences” as the reason for his firing, but many around the league were found surprised by the decision to fire Culley.
Following the terminations of Brian Flores and David Culley, there is currently only one black head coach out of 32 NFL teams.
“It’s possible Flores has already spoken to some of these coaches about joining. There is likely some cooperation already otherwise it would be a massive risk for Flores to bring this as a class action suit without knowing he has behind the scenes support and coaches waiting in the wings to join him,” League of Justice Founder Amy Dash says.
“More coaches means more evidence. Many are already hinting they have the ‘receipts’. I think this is a case that’s substance lies in the pooling of evidence and the power in numbers,” added Dash.
Former Browns coach Hue Jackson says he was also offered compensation for losing while in Cleveland. Jackson, currently the head coach of Grambling State University, took to twitter to respond to reports of Browns owner Jimmy Haslam offering Jackson money for tanking with, “Trust me it was a good number!”
A lot of the Flores lawsuit is tied to the lack of black coaches in the NFL and how much of a liability the Rooney Rule is to the integrity of the hiring process. Teams have found loopholes around the rule, and it has become more of a headache than a solution.
“The Rooney Rule is also not working because management is not doing the interviews in good faith, and it, therefore, creates a stigma that interviews of Black candidates are only being done to comply with the Rooney Rule rather than in recognition of the talents that the Black candidates possess,” the lawsuit states.
This situation is more significant than just Flores and just the Rooney rule, however. Having other coaches join Flores in this lawsuit could make this a much bigger problem than the NFL expected, and it could open the door for some real change in the hiring process.
The potential rule changes could be what sees the most significant change. If other coaches like Culley join in on the class-action suit, we could see changes to more than just the Rooney Rule, and it’s something to watch as this lawsuit moves forward.
This lawsuit comes on the week of the Senior Bowl, where two minority coaches, Lion’s assistant head coach Duce Staley and Jets tight end coach Ron Middleton were selected to represent their teams as head coaches during the week of practice.
This is a program started by the Senior Bowl this draft season to help assistant coaches get the chance to showcase their coaching capabilities in a bigger spotlight.