Brian Flores says his lawsuit against the NFL over alleged racist hiring practices will continue even if he becomes a head coach again this offseason.
Flores has interviewed with the Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints, who have yet to fill their coaching vacancies. If they call, Flores will listen, but he said the suit will go on because the league needs change.
“This is about changing the hiring practices in the National Football League, and that’s what this lawsuit is about,” Flores said Wednesday on CNN. “I want to coach football that’s what I’m called to do.”
Flores said he knows others have similar stories and that it is hard to speak out. He called his potential sacrifice bigger than football or coaching. The NFL is at a fork in the road, he said.
Tony Dungy, a Pro Football Hall of Fame coach, wrote an open letter to NFL owners Wednesday and shared a link on social media.
“One year ago I wrote a letter to NFL owners saying the NFL had a problem only they could solve,” Dungy wrote on Twitter. “Not a lot has changed. Brian Flores’ suit shows the frustration many black coaches have. It could be just the tip of the iceberg. Something has to change!”
Flores’ lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court. It is seeking class-action status and unspecified damages from the league, the Miami Dolphins, the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants, along with unidentified individuals.
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The NFL, Dolphins, Broncos and Giants have denied Flores’ accusations. In its statement, the NFL said it will defend “against these claims, which are without merit.”
Rod Graves, executive director of the Fritz Pollard Alliance and a former general manager in the league, noted Flores’ lawsuit is the latest call to action for the NFL and its team owners.
The Alliance, which fights for equity and inclusion in pro football, is named after a Black player and coach in the 1920s who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
”Men and women of color in the NFL community have long known that the odds of advancing in the coaching ranks and in the front office are stacked against them,” Graves said in a statement. “The Fritz Pollard Alliance supports coach Flores and others in their effort to level the playing field for men and women of color.”
Flores, 40, was fired last month by Miami after leading the Dolphins to a 24-25 record over three years. They went 9-8 in their second straight winning season, but failed to make the playoffs during his tenure.
According to the lawsuit, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told Flores he would pay him $100,000 for every loss during the coach’s first season because he wanted the club to “tank” so it could get the draft’s top pick.