FILE PHOTO: January 9, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, United States; Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores watches from the sidelines during the second quarter against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
March 14, 2022
By Steve Keating
(Reuters) – Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores on Monday urged National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell to hear his racial discrimination lawsuit in open court rather than closed arbitration.
In a conference call attended by Democratic Congressmen Hank Johnson of Georgia and Hakeem Jeffries of New York, who are proposing the Fair Act, which would limit closed arbitration, Flores said he was not confident justice would be served if his case would be tried behind closed doors as the dolphins requested.
“I think if we really want to change something, it has to be done openly,” Flores said. “Doing things in secret is something that doesn’t sit well with me.
“Confidentiality and secrecy, that’s when you feel like you really can’t get justice.
“Specifically for my situation, Commissioner Goodell has said publicly that he is committed to diversity, inclusion and real change, why not make that public?
“Why behind closed doors?”
Flores was fired from the Dolphins in January and later filed the lawsuit alleging discrimination against black candidates for senior coaching and management jobs.
Flores, who is black, also accused Dolphins owner Stephen Ross of offering him $100,000 for every loss in 2019 as an incentive to help the team land a higher draft pick and said his refusal, Throwing games ultimately cost him his job.
“The NFL has talked about transparency, they’ve talked about change,” Flores said. “Without public accountability, without scrutiny, being open, I don’t think you’re going to make real change.
“I would like to use this platform not only to change something in football, but across all sectors the Fair Act would certainly be a step in the right direction.”
Miami’s decision to fire Flores was one of the head coach’s more surprising decisions following the 2021 NFL season, as the Dolphins have won eight of their last nine games after a 1-7 start.
Alongside the NFL and Dolphins, the Denver Broncos and New York Giants were named in the lawsuit, which alleged Flores’ interviews for their vacant head coaching positions were a sham aimed at satisfying a league rule requiring minority candidates for the top spot Coaching and staff jobs need to be considered.
The NFL, Dolphins, Broncos and Giants have all denied Flores’ allegations.
Flores has since been named senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
His lawyers said in the letter that arbitration for victims of discrimination and other wrongdoing is an obstacle to justice.
“The practice of enforced arbitration is unfair, unscrupulous and unAmerican, and we must ensure through Congress and the Fair Act that the practice of enforced arbitration becomes unlawful,” Jeffries said.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Christian Radnedge)
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