On Tuesday morning, the first day of Black History Month, former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL, singling out three of its teams. He is alleging racial discrimination in the league’s hiring practices and is seeking unspecified damages. In the 58-page lawsuit filed in a Manhattan federal court, Flores details several situations that he believes prove the discrimination he experienced.
Those situations include an interview with the New York Giants that seemed to be given to Flores for no other reason than to comply with the Rooney Rule – a rule that requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching positions. Additionally, Flores said Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered the coach $100,000 for each Miami loss in 2019 to help the team secure a better draft pick.
The news has caused quite a stir in the league. Flores gave a lengthy interview on ESPN’s Get Up on Wednesday morning to detail why he chose to file this lawsuit. The full interview is below.
While attending the Senior Bowl in Alabama, Jori Epstein of USA Today Sports asked Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones if he had any comments about the case. In the hallway behind Jones’ suite at the game, the GM told Epstein, “I can see it’s an area, one of many, that we can do better.” Jones is often outspoken about many things, but he now represents the first executive in the league to not deny Flores’ claims.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones responds to Brian Flores lawsuit and says the NFL “can do better”
Jones, of course, did not specifically comment on Flores’ claims against the three teams. He also declined to comment on how other teams go about interviewing or hiring processes. But as an owner, he hopes that the league can make the process better. The Cowboys GM also said that this is a league of “checking boxes.” When Jones entered the league thirty years ago, those boxes looked much different. As the NFL has grown, more boxes have come up for the league to check.
Here is the rest of the quote that Jones gave Epstein:
"“As long as this league is continuing to be the influence that we are, by the interest in the game, by continuing to try to improve over time, the list of boxes we’ll need to address will get bigger. And we’ll have to spend more time checking more boxes. But I welcome that. How would you like for nobody to be interested and nobody to even look at it or have boxes to check.”"
Currently, about 70% of the players in the league are Black. There is only one NFL head coach who is Black (Mike Tomlin). There are zero Black team owners. And, in the over 60-year history of the Cowboys franchise, the team has hired nine head coaches – all nine have been white.
When asked if he could think of ways to improve the league’s diversity rules, Jones declined to give any suggestions. But Jones believes the conversation around equitable hiring will never end, and he embraces that.
Click here to read the full story on the conversation with Jerry Jones from Jori Epstein.