On Tuesday it was announced that the NFL filed a request for private arbitration in the racial discrimination lawsuit filed by former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores.
As reported by The Athletic’s Legal Analyst Daniel Wallach, Flores’ discrimination case submitted in February is being requested for a shift to arbitration based on what the NFL deems a special case alleged by Flores that is unfamiliar to the courts involved.
The League additionally requested that the two co-plaintiffs — former Arizona Cardinals head coach and Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Ray Horton — “sever their cases and file separate arbitration claims.”
Wallach tweeted, late Tuesday: “The NFL, @MiamiDolphins, @Giants, @HoustonTexans, @Broncos, @Titans, and @AZCardinals have filed a motion to shift the entire Brian Flores racial discrimination lawsuit into private arbitration before Commissioner Goodell, and to ‘stay’ the proceedings in the interim.”
He added, “Brian Flores’ response is due July 22. His attorneys have indicated that they will be seeking immediate depositions (Goodell?) and discovery on the NFL’s arbitration process before responding to the NFL’s motion. If the parties can’t work it out, a motion must be filed by 7/1.”
“Mr. Flores’ claims relate to alleged violations of various internal NFL rules — namely, the Rooney Rule, anti-tampering rules, and rules against intentionally losing games,” the NFL’s legal request read.
“Courts are particularly hesitant to interfere in such matters because the internal standards of professional sports leagues ‘are not necessarily familiar to courts and obviously require some expertise in their application.’”
Flores has been reticent with shifting the case to a more discrete method, and with the NFL more closely involved.
“With forced arbitration, my case will be litigated behind closed doors, confidentially and without transparency, essentially done in secrecy,” Flores previously commented regarding the potential motion, back in March.
“With forced arbitration, there won’t be a jury of my peers who will hear my claims, which is one of the most important and fundamental rights we have in this country.”
The six teams named in Flores’ lawsuit include the Dolphins, New York Giants, Houston Texans, Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans.
One of those teams, the Houston Texans, made it on the suit after Flores claimed that the team opted not to give him a head-coaching job due to his suing the league.
The Giants were accused of trying to satisfy their Rooney Rule requirements in interviewing for a head coach by meeting with Flores, while already having their minds set on Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who went on to accept the job.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, whom Flores coached under from 2008-2018, tipped Flores off on the Giants’ allegedly pre-meditated decision.
In suing his former team, Flores alleged that the Miami Dolphins and owner Stephen Ross offered to pay him $100,000 for deliberate losses, or tanking, during his head-coaching term to achieve higher draft picks.
Denver reportedly ran a ‘sham’ interview in 2019 where several executives allegedly arrived hungover to meet with an interviewing Flores.
Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks joined the lawsuit in April, as did former Titans DC Ray Horton, after alleging that the Cards used Wilks’ sole head-coaching season as a buffer until they hired Kliff Kingsbury — setting Wilks up for failure in the 3-13 season. Horton alleged that Titans ownership was set on hiring Mike Mularkey as head coach amid interviewing with Horton for the job.
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin hired Flores as a senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach this offseason.
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