Armando Salguero: Brian Flores Claims Racial Discrimination In NFL Hiring Practices, So Let’s Examine His Hiring Practices

The court of public opinion has been in session for several days ever since former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores sued the NFL and its clubs for racial discrimination.

Flores continued his tour of sympathetic media with a stop at National Public Radio. And while there, he addressed his frustration with the New York Giants over what he believes was a sham interview for their vacant head coach job — a job that eventually went to Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who is white.

“There was a text message from Bill Belichick that confirmed a lot of the things that I believed were going on for, you know, blacks, minorities in the hiring process,” Flores told NPR. “Interviews that blacks and minorities were going on that weren’t getting a true opportunity in those interviews to showcase our abilities, and me personally, to showcase my abilities.

“To walk into an interview where a decision has already been made, that was the tipping point for me.”

Flores contends New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick knew days before he (Flores) interviewed that Daboll was already getting the job. Indeed, Flores has presented text messages from Belichick suggesting as much as evidence in his lawsuit.

“I do think there are back-channel conversations, back-channel meetings, that are had, that oftentimes influence decisions,” Flores said. “And I think that’s a clear example of that. That’s Bill Belichick. His résumé speaks for itself. He has influence.

“I think to me it was clear that that decision was made with his influence, and that’s part of the problem. And that needs to change. There needs to be a fair and equal opportunity to interview and showcase, like I said before, your abilities to lead and earn one of those positions.”

Flores has a couple of problems here:

One, he’s going to need proof, and he was neither pressed for any nor offered any in the interview.

Secondly, the Giants on Thursday came at him like one of those zero blitzes Flores so often used as a defensive-minded coach in Miami. The Giants attacked practically every assertion about them Flores made in the lawsuit and ensuing interviews.

“Brian Flores has raised serious issues in the filing of his complaint,” the Giants said in a statement. “The specific claims against the Giants and Mr. Flores’ allegations about the legitimacy of his candidacy for our head coach position are disturbing and simply false.

“After we interviewed six exceptional and diverse candidates, the decision on who we would hire as head coach was made on the evening of January 28, one day after Mr. Flores spent an entire day in our offices going through his second interview for the position, meeting with ownership and other staff members, and receiving a tour of our facility.

“There is additional concrete and objective evidence to substantiate we did not make our decision until the evening of the 28th.”

An NFL source said the Giants have internal communications that show they had not made their hiring decision before Flores was interviewed.

“The allegation that the Giants’ decision had been made prior to Friday evening, January 28, is false,” the Giants statement continues. “And to base that allegation on a text exchange with Bill Belichick in which he ultimately states that he ‘thinks’ Brian Daboll would get the job is irresponsible. 

“The text exchange occurred the day before coach Daboll’s in-person interview even took place. Giants’ ownership would never hire a head coach based only on a 20-minute Zoom interview, which is all that Mr. Daboll had at that point.”

And then the zinger:

“In addition, Mr. Belichick does not speak for and has no affiliation with the Giants. Mr. Belichick’s text exchange provides no insight into what actually transpired during our head coaching search.”

The Giants then did something the NFL and attorneys for the various teams named in the lawsuit are likely to do, which is use Flores’ own words to the media against him.

“In his CBS interview [Wednesday], Mr. Flores was asked if ‘clubs have the right to hire the person they think is the best qualified for the job or the person they feel is right for them?’  Mr. Flores responded, ‘They do. That’s very reasonable to me…’ That is exactly what we did.”

So far this hiring cycle, six teams have filled head coaching vacancies, and all have been filled by white men, including the Jacksonville Jaguars hiring Doug Pederson on Thursday night.

In his suit, Flores is, in part, calling out the NFL’s hiring practices because black coaches have not been hired at a rate proportional to the NFL’s percentage of black players.

The coincidence in this is Flores himself was in a position to hire coaches during his three-year tenure as coach of the Dolphins. And his record hiring minorities is not stellar.

Consider:

Flores had 20 coaches on his 2021 coaching staff, with 15 of those white and five black.

Flores hired four offensive coordinators during his time with the Dolphins, including co-coordinators in 2021. Three of those four are white.

Flores hired four offensive line coaches during his tenure, and three of those four are white.

Flores hired two defensive coordinators during his time as head coach, one black and one white.

Flores hired four quarterback or assistant quarterback coaches during his three years, and three of those four are white, with Jim Caldwell the only exception. Caldwell, it should be noted, worked under Flores for a couple of months but departed before the 2019 season began, citing health issues.

Flores hired one special teams coordinator during his time as coach, that being Danny Crossman, who is white.

Maybe the coach claiming the NFL’s hiring practices are unfair should have addressed his own first.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

Armando Salguero has covered the NFL since 1990 for the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and ESPN. He was a 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 columnist. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector and AP All-Pro team voter.

24 Comments

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  1. Agenda-obsessed black coaches/athletes in a media-fueled pissing contest with arrogant billionaire white owners … ??????

    Sounds like “a war between sunnis and shiites”? Do we really care who “wins” so long as both sides suffer heavy casualties?
    .

  2. I feel Brian has raised many solid points and I support most of those. Your article, however, does shine a giant light on possible hypocrisy with Brian’s own hiring process. Now, that’s assuming Brian had final say on who he hired. The biggest story out of all this is the “Tanking Gate” accusations. If the “bribe” accusations prove to be true with solid evidence, the NFL will be faced with a Donald Sterling situation (maybe with the Browns as well). The last thing the NFL needs, with embracing legalized gambling, is a “Black Sox” type cheating scandal to question the league’s integrity.

    • No Flores didn’t bring up many solid points. It is an attention grab because Flores is bitter he didn’t get hired for one of the outstanding jobs. To base a lawsuit off of texts from a man outside of the Giants organization is ridiculous and irresponsible on the part of his lawyers. Talk about hearsay.

  3. I’m so sick of the victimization game that is constantly being played by a certain group. While I’m not necessarily a fan of billionaire owners I hope they clean this asshole’s clock in court. Of course if they do, it will be because the court is unjust and racist.

  4. If you take Flores account at face value along with the facts.
    Flores was hired by a black manager in 2019
    In 2019 Flores told the owner to get lost when he was asked to tank. Won five games. Was not fired.
    In early 2020 Flores told the owner to get lost when he was told to meet with Tom Brady. Was not fired,
    In 2020 Flores started the year 2-4. Was not fired.
    In 2021 Flores started the year 1-7. Was not fired until the end of the year,
    But after three years, four OC, four OL coaches and zero playoff appearances Flores is fired two seasons after he last told the owner to get lost,
    Must all be racism.

  5. Flores is the Kaepernick of NFL head coaches. Dude obviously watches way to much CNN and MSNBC. Anything negative must be because of his skin color. Guy coached ten years in New England, then gets a head coaching gig in Miami. Tells the owner to piss of in 2019 when the owner suggested tanking to get some better draft picks and try to rebuild. Doesn’t get fired for another two years and then interviews for more jobs. Most of the big things he claimed were shot down by the Giants. The text message from Bill happened before the I’m person interview with Dabol. I highly doubt they were going to hire a guy based on a 20 minute zoom interview. Flores had multiple interviews with them as well and according to them they didn’t make their decision till after the in person Flores interview. I doubt the case makes it to discovery. Flores is a joke. Maybe Nike will give him a show because he isn’t going to be coaching in the league ever again. Another bright decision by an idiot.

  6. Also notice that Flores’ two attorneys are white men. How many minority lawyers did he interview? Did no minority attorney, esp an African-American attorney, want to take on such a high-profile race discrimination case?

  7. So ponder this: Reports say Flores is still in contention for the Texans’ HC opening, one of three remaining. Putting aside the bizarre job-seeking approach of suing by class action all your potential employers (not to mention how much stronger Flores’ case would have been had he waited until all the available openings were filled), let’s imagine for a second the Texans offered him the job. So what then? Is he then suing by class action his actual employer for racial discrimination after being hired by them? This whole suit was so poorly thought out (see solid responses from Giants, Broncos and Browns to Hue Jackson), that it seems the only charges likely to stick are the non-racial allegations against the Dolphins. These could have massive ramifications but have nothing to do with race (Dolphins have one of the most diverse front office/coaching staffs in the league) and reek of disgruntled employee with victim mindset wanting to punish ex-employer. By his own words, he seems to have been looking for something to “confirm a lot of the things that I believed were going on for, you know, blacks, minorities in the hiring process.” I don’t think he has done that, but he may have started something that will give him revenge against the Dolphins but ultimately tarnish him as well.

  8. One more thing (sorry to hog comments): Flores alleges Ross offered him $100K for every game lost in 2019. Flores lost 11 games that season. Did he get a $1.1 million bonus? Wouldn’t the answer prove or disprove his contention?

  9. Armando you make an EXCELLENT point by mentioning the hires made by Brian Flores himself. I would like for someone to ask Mr. Flores why he hired the people he did while he was the Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins. I am quite certain he will say that they were the best candidates for the jobs. I would then like someone to ask him to explain what is different from his own hiring practices as Head Coach, and what he is alleging the NFL Teams are doing to him and other “minorities”. And how he could prove that he didn’t discriminate against blacks or “minorities” when he interviewed and hired FAR more whites than blacks. Why won’t anyone ask him this. I don’t think he could answer. And without proof of his claims this is character assassination and emotional disappointment only.

  10. If Ross’s emails, texts, personal correspondence can be perused by these attorneys, turnabout is fair play. Investigate these law firms. Are they contributors to BLM? Are they be funded by BLM? Have they ever been investigated for fraud or mail practice? While we’re at it, is Flo a BLM contributor?
    The case was filed in the most liberal district in NY state…the Southern District of NY. Convenient to NFL Headquarters. Flo’s antics in Miami will be unexplored by the media, and unfortunately the SFlorida press is part of the progressive dark side. A soft guess, but I’ll wager Armando has much more info, stuff he couldn’t say while at the Herald. Stay tuned.

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