Filed in the Southern District of New York, the suit claims that the New York Giants interviewed Flores for their head coaching job, although they already intended to hire Brian Daboll for the position.
Flores alleges that the interview process was a “sham” to keep in compliance with the NFL’s “Rooney Rule,” which mandates teams to interview minority candidates for vacant head coaching and general manager jobs.
“Mr. Flores was forced to sit through a dinner with Joe Schoen, the Giant’s new General Manager, knowing that the Giants had already selected Mr. Daboll,” the suit reads. “Much worse, on Thursday, January 27, 2022, Mr. Flores had to give an extensive interview for a job that he already knew he would not get—an interview that was held for no reason other than for the Giants to demonstrate falsely to the League Commissioner Roger Goodell and the public at large that it was in compliance with the Rooney Rule.”
As evidence of his claims, the suit cites a text exchange with Bill Belichick, who he worked with for 14 years, showing the New England Patriots coach congratulating Flores for getting the Giants job, even though his interview was days away. The next day, Belichick allegedly tried to rectify the situation by texting Flores that he thought he was communicating with Brian Daboll.
“Sorry — I f–ked this up,” Belichick’s text read. “I double checked & I misread the text. I think they are naming Daboll. I’m sorry about that.”
Flores was considered a top prospect for the Giants’ job after interviewing with the Chicago Bears (who hired Matt Eberflus) and the Houston Texans (who have not yet named a new head coach).
The Giants have denied all of Flores’ allegations.
“We are pleased and confident with the process that resulted in the hiring of Brian Daboll,” the Giants said in a statement. “We interviewed an impressive and diverse group of candidates. The fact of the matter is, Brian Flores was in the conversation to be our head coach until the eleventh hour. Ultimately, we hired the individual we felt was most qualified to be our next head coach.”
Flores’ suit also claims that John Elway along with other Denver Broncos executives were “completely disheveled” during a 2019 interview that Flores says was only held to satisfy the Rooney Rule requirement.
The Broncos described Flores’ allegations as “blatantly false.”
The NFL also said Flores’ allegations are “without merit” in a statement.
“The NFL and our clubs are deeply committed to ensuring equitable employment practices and continue to make progress in providing equitable opportunities throughout our organizations,” the NFL said. “Diversity is core to everything we do, and there are few issues on which our clubs and our internal leadership team spend more time.”
Last offseason, Flores was fired from the Miami Dolphins although his team posted a winning record. In the suit, he alleges that he was bribed to lose games so the team could have a higher draft pick by team owner Stephen Ross. Also, he claims he was asked to attend a yacht party to try to lure Tom Brady to the Dolphins which would have violated NFL rules.
In a statement on Tuesday, Flores acknowledged that the lawsuit could potentially cost him his career as an NFL coach.
“God has gifted me with a special talent to coach the game of football, but the need for change is bigger than my personal goals,” his statement read. “In making the decision to file the class action complaint, I understand that I may be risking coaching the game I love, and has done so much for my family and me. My sincere hope is that by standing up against systemic racism in the NFL, others will join me to ensure that positive change is made for generations to come.”
Flores's suit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages “for all Black head coaches, offensive and defensive coordinators, quarterback coaches and general managers, as well as all Black candidates for the positions.”
Currently, Mike Tomlin, head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, is the only Black coach in the NFL.