February 8, 2022

NFL Lawsuit

“Fired Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores sued the NFL and three teams [last] Tuesday over alleged racist hiring practices for coaches and general managers… The lawsuit sought class-action status and unspecified damages from the league, the Dolphins, the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants, along with unidentified individuals.” AP News

“On Saturday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all 32 teams acknowledging the hiring results for minorities seeking head coach positions have been ‘unacceptable.’ He also said the league would retain outside experts, as well as ‘solicit input from current and former players and coaches,’ to assist in reviewing the league's diversity policies and initiatives.” NFL

“The Houston Texans have hired Lovie Smith as their next head coach, the team announced Monday… Smith, who is Black, joins the Miami Dolphins' Mike McDaniel, New York Jets' Robert Saleh, Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin and Washington Commanders' Ron Rivera as the league's only minority head coaches.” ESPN

See past issues

From the Left

The left criticizes the NFL’s lack of Black coaches.

“[The 2002 report] Black Coaches in the National Football League: Superior Performance, Inferior Opportunities, found that year after year qualified Blacks were overlooked for coaching opportunities and that the handful who were hired were more likely to inherit underachieving teams. Black coaches were also more likely to be fired than white coaches with inferior records. The numbers revealed that Black coaches, on average, won more games per season and led their teams to the playoffs 67% of the time, compared with 39% for white coaches…

“In December 2002, the league’s 32 teams, led by the Pittsburgh Steelers president, Dan Rooney, unanimously adopted a rule requiring the consideration of minorities for leadership roles. The so-called Rooney Rule initially held promise and was credited with moving the needle in a league long resistant to change. But nearly two decades later hope for many has faded to disillusionment…

“History shows that the effectiveness of any measure aimed at racial progress is commensurate with demonstrated commitment to the cause. And without leadership, oversight, and enforcement any hard-won gains can be swiftly erased.”
Pamela Newkirk, The Guardian

“In 2003, the first year of the Rooney Rule, the Detroit Lions hired a White coach after inviting Black coaches to ‘see the facilities.’ Not one Black coach accepted the clearly empty offer. As advocates of the Rooney Rule, we told the NFL that if they didn’t act, they were torpedoing equal opportunity efforts. The league eventually fined Lions President Matt Millen $200,000. It sent a loud message that the rule would be enforced…

“But in 2017, the Oakland Raiders selected a White head coach, Jon Gruden, before holding sham interviews with Black candidates. The Fritz Pollard Alliance urged the league to fine the Raiders owner just as they had fined the Lions president 14 years earlier. But the NFL refused, suggesting that it was no longer taking equal opportunity efforts seriously. The number of Black head coaches has since plummeted, while frustration among Black coaches is sky high.”
Cyrus Mehri, Washington Post

“I’m from Detroit. Our last winning seasons were with Jim Caldwell, who was a Black head coach. He had secured back-to-back winning seasons and was fired, and they haven’t had a winning season since. Brian Flores had back-to-back winning seasons, including finishing eight and one down the stretch, which has never happened before in NFL history. And he led the Miami Dolphins to its first back-to-back winning seasons in more than 20 years. And he was fired…

“In L.A., coach Anthony Lynn, who didn’t do a terrible job by any stretch, was let go after the starting quarterback was injured before the season even began. It’s not only that a Black coach can be fired with a winning season, but a Black coach can be fired for some of the most ridiculous reasons that are completely out of their control and not get another opportunity to come back as a head coach.”
LZ Granderson, Slate

From the Right

The right is skeptical of Flores’s claims of discrimination.

The right is skeptical of Flores’s claims of discrimination.

“It strikes me that the ex-coach’s own statements establish that he was not fired because of his race. Appearing on CBS after filing his suit, Flores reportedly said the Dolphins’ owner offered him money to lose games so as to improve the team’s draft position. According to Flores, he refused and this ‘hurt my standing within the organization and ultimately was the reason I was let go.’ (Emphasis added)…

“It would be deplorable to fire a coach for not losing intentionally. But doing so would not be race discrimination. If Flores is right that non-tanking was ‘the reason I was let go,’ then race was not the reason — not unless he can show that the Dolphins have retained white head coaches who also refused to tank…

“Flores also alleges that the owner pressured him to recruit a ‘prominent quarterback’ for the franchise, in violation of rules against tampering. Flores says he did not participate in that recruiting effort (of Tom Brady, probably) and thereafter, ‘was treated with disdain and held out as someone who was noncompliant and difficult to work with.’ This, then, is another reason for Flores’ serious problems with the Dolphins that has nothing to do with his race. Given Flores’ concessions plus the fact that the Dolphins have a black GM, his race discrimination claim against the team seems quite weak.”
Paul Mirengoff, Power Line Blog

“A mere 32 head coaching positions comprise too small a sample size to make any grand assumptions about race or anything else. NFL coaching staffs are incredibly diverse, and the people in those 32 head coach positions each face unique challenges and circumstances. When looking at what happened to Flores, the cries of racism once again fall apart…

“Flores was fired because of a power struggle with general manager Chris Grier — and also because his relationship with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had deteriorated. The Dolphins, in essence, chose Grier and Tagovailoa over Flores. Whether that proves to be the right decision or not, pointing to racism as the cause is sophomoric — Grier is also black, and Tagovailoa is Samoan.”
Zachary Faria, Washington Examiner

“Texts Flores included in the lawsuit between him and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick show that Belichick knew who the New York Giants were going to hire as the head coach before Flores was even interviewed for the position. That’s fine if the Giants knew who they wanted as the head coach and hired who they thought was the best person available for the job. However, it’s unfortunate that the team had to waste Flores’s time just to check a diversity box…

“Flores shouldn’t get special treatment because of his skin color, and teams also shouldn’t use him as a prop because of his skin color, either. The easy solution for the NFL: Stop the nonsense and let teams hire the best available coaches. Having a better head coach helps a team win games and make money. Therefore, being racist is an illogical position for an NFL team to take. If a team wants to discriminate, it will suffer the consequences on the field.”
Tom Joyce, Washington Examiner

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