NFL Denied Arbitration In Brian Flores’ Lawsuit Alleging ‘Discriminatory’ Hiring Practices

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Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator and ex-Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores advanced his lawsuit against the NFL and several teams regarding “discriminatory” hiring practices against black coaches.

On Wednesday, Flores’ legal team got a small win when his discrimination case against the league was OK’d to go to court. The NFL had been seeking arbitration in Flores’ lawsuits against the Dolphins, Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Houston Texans.

Flores, NFL Discrimination Lawsuit Moves Forward

U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni released her decision and stated that since Flores was never under contract by the Broncos, Giants or Texans, the NFL would not be granted arbitration in those cases.

Due to his past contract, Flores will have to undergo arbitration involving the league and commissioner Roger Goodell in his case against the Dolphins.


The 42-year-old Flores sued the NFL and its teams on Feb. 1, 2022, a month after getting canned by Miami. Flores claims the team and owner Stephen Ross instructed him to start tanking to secure a valuable draft pick, but he refused and was let go over his rejection. He went 24–25 in three seasons with Miami.

(John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Rooney Rule Fails Again

Before joining the Pittsburgh Steelers as a senior defensive assistant coach in 2022 and the Vikings in 2023, Flores alleged that he was given a “sham” head coaching interview by the Giants to meet the Rooney Rule, which demands teams interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching positions (which has not worked as intended).

Flores discovered that the Giants selected Brian Daboll as their HC hire after Patriots head coach Bill Belichick mistakenly sent a congratulatory message to Flores, originally intended for Daboll.

Typical Belichick antics.

Flores also accused the Broncos of conducting a sham interview when John Elway and other team execs arrived at the HC interview late and “hungover.”

Jumping on the lawsuit to criticize the NFL for “discriminatory hiring practices” against black coaches were former Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Ray Horton and one-time Arizona Cardinals interim HC Steve Wilks.

Flores’ Legal Is Optimistic But Not Satisfied

In a statement provided to Fox Digital, Flores’ attorney, Douglas Wigdor, said he was glad to advance the lawsuits against the Broncos, Giants and Texans but reticent toward the NFL’s involvement in Flores’ case against Miami.

(Photo by Peter Casey/Getty Images)

Widor’s statement read:

“We are pleased that Coach Flores’ class claims of systematic discrimination against the NFL and several teams will proceed in court and ultimately before a jury of his peers. We are disappointed the court compelled arbitration of any claims before Mr. Goodell as he is obviously biased and unqualified to rule on these matters.

“We expect him to delegate those matters to a truly neutral arbitrator as a matter of fundamental fairness. We look forward to pursuing all these claims to trial in their various forums.”

Judge Caproni wrote in her decision:

“Plaintiffs’ descriptions of their experiences of racial discrimination — which allegedly are only the most recent chapter in the NFL’s long history of systematic discrimination toward Black players, coaches, and managers — are incredibly troubling.

“Given the number of Black men who play and coach football, it is difficult to understand how it could be that, at the time plaintiffs initiated this lawsuit, ‘the NFL had only one Black head coach.’” 

The NFL was recently criticized for its role in behind-the-scenes settlements after three minority owners of the Washington Commanders were made to settle with majority owner Dan Snyder regarding a secret $55 million loan he requested under the team.

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Written by Alejandro Avila

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