Brian Flores, former head coach of the Miami Dolphins, filed a class action lawsuit against the organization on Tuesday, Feb. 1 that alleges racial discrimination was at the root of him being dismissed from the organization.
He also alleges that the New York Giants and Denver Broncos — the teams for which he said he sat through “sham” interviews for a head coaching position — discriminated against him in their hiring process. He is also suing the NFL.
“God has gifted me with a special talent to coach the game of football, but the need for change is bigger than my personal goals,” Flores said in a statement. “In making the decision to file the class action complaint today, I understand that I may be risking coaching the game that I love and that has done so much for my family and me.”
In the 58-page complaint, which was filed in a Manhattan federal court on Tuesday, multiple alleged incidents in which Flores cites he was discriminated against include one stemming from 2019, in which he says Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered Flores a monetary bonus of $100,000 for each game he lost.
Flores says in the complaint that he aims to “shine a light on the racial injustices that take place inside the NFL and to effectuate real change for the future” and seeks to “increase the influence” of Black individuals in hiring and termination decisions for top positions within the league.
“My sincere hope is that by standing up against systemic racism in the NFL, others will join me to ensure that positive change is made for generations to come.”
The NFL, which is also being sued by Flores, responded to the lawsuit in a statement on their website.
“The NFL and our clubs are deeply committed to ensuring equitable employment practices and continue to make progress in providing equitable opportunities throughout our organizations,” it read. “Diversity is core to everything we do, and there are few issues on which our clubs and our internal leadership team spend more time. We will defend against these claims, which are without merit.”
Flores’ legal team, Douglas H. Wigdor of Wigdor LLP and John Elefterakis of Elefterakis, Elefterakis & Panek, said in a joint statement that this case “seeks to level the playing field in the hope that future owners and coaches will be representative of the athletes who are playing this great game. We fully expect coaches and players of all races to support Brian as he embarks on his journey to create positive change.”