Brian Flores: Taking a Stand Against The NFL

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It was a sudden decision that few could have predicted. Brian Flores was fired last month after a three-year run with the Miami Dolphins. This was a surprise ending to a contract that had been expected to last two years.

The result could be described as “reckoning for the NFL”: Flores filed an action lawsuit against the league, its 32 franchises, and cited racial discrimination. This has prompted a closer examination of the NFL’s hiring practices.

Flores shares his thoughts with Jay Williams, NPR host for The Limits With Jay Williams. He explains that the ultimate goal of Flores is to change the world – even if it means getting blackballed.

Flores states, “If there is significant change.” “If I don’t coach again, but there is significant change, it will be worth it.”

The NFL released a statement denouncing the claims following Flores’ suit, filed on the first day Black History Month.

Flores speaks candidly with Williams about the lawsuit, text messages from Bill Belichek, New England Patriots coach, that clearly highlight problems in the hiring process, and the NFL’s Rooney rule. He also discusses his hopes for the future.

Interview Highlights

How he filed the lawsuit

I was unsure. It was. It was a sacrifice I made, but it felt necessary. This is not about me. This is not about me. It’s about something much larger than me. The NFL system that hires Black coaches and other minorities is broken in my opinion. 

Bill Belichick’s text messages confirmed many things I believed to be happening in the hiring process for Blacks and other minorities. Interviews were being conducted by Blacks and other minorities, but we weren’t given the opportunity to show our talents in these interviews. I was able to walk into interviews where a decision had been made. This confirmation made me feel like I had to share something.

Why he was fired from the Dolphins

They wanted me to do things I didn’t want. I could not tank from a character and integrity perspective. That’s what I believe ultimately. Or, I know it’s why.

What he would say to Dolphins fans that don’t believe him?

Let’s see how it turns out. All things are honest and transparent. Dolphins fans were able to feel that during my time there. This is who I am. This is part of my core beliefs and principles. Let’s just let it happen.

The problems with NFL hiring practices

Back channel conversations and meetings can influence decisions. This is evident in the Giants’ hiring process. Let’s look at Bill Belichick. His resume speaks for itself. He is a man of influence. He was clearly influential in making that decision. This is part of the problem. This needs to change. It is important that everyone has equal access to interviews and the opportunity to show your skills to take on leadership and earn a position.

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The Limits was produced by Karen Kinney and Mano Sundaresan. Music by Ramtin Arablouei. Our executive producer is Anya Grundmann. Charla Riggi, Erin Register and a special thanks.