Even though he now has a job with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a defensive assistant, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores intends to continue to pursue the lawsuit that he filed on February 1 against the National Football League and a few of its constituent organizations, including his former employer, as well as the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos, and eventually the Houston Texans.
Flores has charged racial discrimination in the hiring and retention process throughout the league’s ranks for head coaching opportunities and elsewhere. In the case of the Dolphins, he has also charged owner Stephen Ross with an accusation that he offered to pay Flores to lose games, or to ‘tank’ in other words, which is an attack on the integrity of the game.
Ross and the Dolphins have dismissed those claims out of hand, as well as claims from Flores’ camp that the Dolphins attempted to get him to sign a Non-Disparagement Agreement upon his termination, which he says he refused to sign because he intended to go on with his lawsuit.
“This latest assertion by Brian Flores that Steve Ross mentioned an NDA to him is categorically false”, the team said in a statement. “This just did not happen and we simply cannot understand why Brian continues this pattern of making unfounded statements that he knows are untrue”.
The Dolphins have released this statement in response to Brian Flores’ claim that he refused to sign an NDA following his firing on Jan. 10 pic.twitter.com/tiQIrUh1TU
— Marcel Louis-Jacques (@Marcel_LJ) February 22, 2022
It goes on to say that they are cooperating with the league’s investigation into the claims, and insist they are “false and defamatory”. Flores, on the other hand, claimed to have “corroborating evidence”, according to his representation, during an interview on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel”.
“Let’s see how this plays out. I’m the one who had the most to lose here. Let’s just see how this plays out”, he said in response to Miami’s statement. Via Twitter, his representatives, Widgor Law, shared what they purport to be an excerpt from that agreement he was asked to sign.
This is the segment of the show the Dolphins organization too issue with. Words didn’t come from Brian Flores.
Dolphins are playing a Semantics game, trying to avoid paying Flores his guaranteed money. pic.twitter.com/Py7idAB6I6
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) February 23, 2022
In response to the #Dolphins calling Brian Flores’ assertion of an NDA “categorically false,” below are screenshots from the draft agreement & payment termination notice.
If #BrianFlores had signed this, he would have been gagged and unable to talk about his experience.#NFL pic.twitter.com/rlEgTXsd4I
— WigdorLaw (@WigdorLaw) February 23, 2022
Under the Non-Disparagement portion, it reads in part, “Employee agrees not to make any disparaging or untruthful remarks regarding MDL [the Miami Dolphins] or any of the Releasees, which are or could reasonably be interpreted to be of a negative or critical nature”.
In another section, it specifically addresses lawsuits. “Employee also agrees not to participate, cooperate or assist in any manner, whether as a witness, expert consultant or otherwise, in any lawsuit, complaint, charge or other proceeding involving any of the Releasees as a party unless requested to do so by MDL for MDL’s benefit or compelled to do so by valid and proper subpoena or court order, or unless such participation is protected by law”.
I’m not a legal expert or anything, but that does sound like what I would imagine a Non-Disclosure Agreement to consist of, and it does read as something that, if signed, would prohibit Flores from filing the lawsuit.
If indeed this was a document that the Dolphins requested Flores to sign, which he chose not to sign, then I’m not sure why they would respond as though they would expect him not to have access to it to offer as evidence.
Of course, proof of a Non-Disparagement Agreement or something similar doesn’t prove any of his other claims, and certainly not that Ross offered to pay him $100,000 per loss, though he has stated that they have corroborating evidence for that, as well. If authentic, though, this does indicate that it is something that would have otherwise prevented him from taking the steps he has taken.
In opting not to sign the NDA, which is required in order for a coach to receive unaccrued pay when he is let go with years left on his contract, Flores allowed the Dolphins to withhold future pay that would have otherwise still been coming to him. As you can see in the embedded tweet above, Miami has already come after that money.