Brian Flores, the former Miami Dolphins head coach, said that the team asked for his racial discrimination suit against the NFL and three other teams to be heard in private arbitration.
A copy of the letter that Flores’ lawyers sent to Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, Wednesday was obtained by Reuters. The Dolphins asked last month for arbitration.
Attorney Douglas H. Wigdor stated in the letter that “if the NFL is truly committed ‘ending racism’ as it has repeatedly claimed”, the league would reject Miami’s request to arbitrate.
“Race discrimination can’t be eliminated behind closed doors, and integrity of the game is dependent on transparency.”
Reuters asked the NFL and Dolphins for comment but they did not immediately respond.
Flores was fired in January by the Dolphins and then filed the lawsuit alleging that Flores discriminated against Black candidates for high-ranking coaching and management positions.
Flores, who is Black also accused Stephen Ross, Dolphins owner, of offering him $100,000 per loss in 2019 to get a better draft pick. Ross claimed that Flores refused to throw games and ultimately lost his job.
The surprise decision by Miami to fire Flores, the head coach of the 2021 NFL season was surprising considering that the Dolphins won eight of nine of their last nine games following a 1-7 start.
The lawsuit named the NFL and Dolphins as well as the New York Giants and Denver Broncos. They claimed Flores’ interviews for vacant head coaches positions were a fraud to comply with a league rule that minorities must be considered for the top coaching and staff positions.
Flores’ allegations were denied by the NFL, Dolphins Broncos, Broncos, and Giants.
Flores has since been named senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In the letter, his lawyers stated that arbitration is a barrier to justice for victims who have been discriminated against or other misconduct.
The letter stated that “If the National Football League truly believes in racial justice, equality, it will never attempt to force Mr. Flores’ claims into arbitration.”
“A lack of transparency in arbitration is only a way to maintain the status quo. In this case, you have agreed that it must be evaluated fairly and possibly overhauled. The lawyers stated that arbitration cannot allow this.