Before we get further in here, I’d just like to address something first. There is going to be a lot of discussion right now about Brian Flores, and a lot of that discussion is going to be about the fact that he is suing the league, and what that lawsuit is about. But we should also keep in mind that, right now, it’s the end of February.
In other words, I don’t think it does anybody any favors to race to the conclusion that Flores and his hiring is going to be a distraction for the Pittsburgh Steelers in any pragmatic sense. And just because we might be covering interviews in which Flores talks about his lawsuit doesn’t mean it’s affecting anything inside the building.
But today I want to go back to the interview he recently did on Brandon Marshall’s I Am Athlete podcast, which, if you happen to have an hour to kill, is a genuinely interesting discussion, whether you agree with everything said or not. Naturally, one of the topics that he discussed was his firing as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, and why he believes that who he is as a person was a factor.
“I think race played a role in my firing. What I mean by that is, there were things I was asked to do, there were conversations that were had”, he told his hosts and guests; “I was made out to be a difficult person to work with. I think my white counterparts wouldn’t have been asked to do the things I was asked to do”.
While there were early reports coming out of the Dolphins building that Flores was a difficult person to work with, he acknowledged that he’s a strong personality, but that “You need to be that as a coach in the National Football League”. He also said to just talk to the people in that building if you want to know what type of person he is, including the kitchen staff.
At one point during the conversation, another member of the conversation, Miami Herald journalist Omar Kelly posited that the reason that Flores was ultimately fired this offseason was quite simple: Because he didn’t make Dolphins owner Stephen Ross comfortable.
“I mean, that’s exactly why, in my opinion”, Flores said. “If I feel like something’s wrong, I’m gonna talk about it. You’re gonna hear from me. And there were some things that happened there that I simply wouldn’t do. That’s the reason why”. When Marshall asked him what one of those things were that he wouldn’t do, he didn’t miss a beat in saying, “I wouldn’t lose games on purpose”.
One of the principle claims in his lawsuit is that Ross directly offered to pay him $100,000 during the 2019 season for every game that he lost, in the quest to secure the first overall draft pick. They came close, but ultimately, Flores’ team beat out the Cincinnati Bengals in an overtime win late in the season.
Obviously, as it concerns his claims about conversations that were had and requests that were made, he did not go into elaborate detail on the podcast, but those things will undoubtedly come up over the course of the unfolding of his lawsuit. It will be interesting to see what might be revealed in time.