The Super Bowl is right around the corner, but now the NFL will have a new cloud hanging over its head -- former Miami Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores' Class Action lawsuit. On the first day of Black History Month, Flores filed suit calling out the systemic racism embedded in the heart of the NFL. Lately, it seems racism and the NFL are more connected than Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. The way the league treated Colin Kaepernick, how the NFL insisted on using a racial slur for a team name for many years, and their use of "race norms" to justify lower payouts following its Traumatic Brain Injury case, is just the tip of the iceberg. The rest, Flores reveals in his suit.
Seventy percent of NFL players are Black. However, if you look at management, the players are woefully unrepresented.
- Only 1 of the NFL's 32 teams (3%) employs a Black Head Coach;
- Only 4 of the NFL's 32 teams (12%) employ a Black Offensive Coordinator;
- Only 11 of the NFL's 32 teams (34%) employ a Black Defensive Coordinator;
- Only 8 of the NFL's 32 teams (25%) employ a Black Special Teams Coordinator;
- Only 3 of the NFL's 32 teams (9%) employ a Black Quarterback Coach; and
- Only 6 of the NFL's 32 teams (19%) employ a Black General Manager.
The suit even quotes Troy Vincent, VP of Football Operations, and Jonathan Beane, SVP and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, conceding that the NFL is unrepresentative of its players.
After three years as head coach, Coach Flores led the Miami Dolphins to their first back-to-back winning seasons since 2003. Since the beginning, Flores has to contend with unethical behavior from the ownership of the Dolphins, including intentionally tanking the team for better draft picks and violating League tampering rules to recruit a quarterback. Flores was even offered a bonus for every game he lost. Flores' punishment for his integrity was Dolphins management stigmatizing him as "an angry Black man."
At the heart of this case is the Rooney Rule, which requires "at least two external minority candidates for open head coaching positions and at least one external minority candidate for a coordinator job." Unfortunately, this rule has resulted in only 15 of 129 head coaching positions for Black candidates. Instead, Black candidates are often given sham interviews, as evidenced by a text from Bill Bellichek. Bellicheck texted Flores, congratulating him for getting the Giants Head Coach position, only to walk it back by saying the text was intended for Brian Daboll. This text was sent three days before Flores was scheduled to interview for the position. This was not Flores' first experience with a Rooney Rule interview; he also describes an incident with the Denver Broncos.
Sports Fans Coalition wholeheartedly supports Coach Flores in his lawsuit and hopes it effectuates the real change that the NFL desperately needs.