A new update from Brian Flores’ discrimination lawsuit against the NFL. After months of stagnation, a judge has ruled Flores can proceed with his suit against the league in court instead of it being forced into arbitration.
According to the Associated Press via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Federal Judge Valerie Caproni wrote that Flores’ case can proceed to a jury in his case against the NFL, the Houston Texans, and Denver Broncos. However, his allegations and suit against the Miami Dolphins must be taken to arbitration.
For months, the NFL has attempted to get all of Flores’ claims against them and their teams taken to arbitration.
“We are pleased that Coach Flores’ class claims of systematic discrimination against the NFL and several teams will proceed in court and ultimately before a jury of his peers,” attorney Douglas Widor wrote in an email to the AP.
Flores is suing the NFL, the Texans, and the Broncos for racial discrimination in its hiring practices. The suit was initially filed more than a year ago in February of 2022. Flores’ claim against the Dolphins was over an accusation that Miami owner Stephen Ross offered Flores $100,000 per loss to tank the 2019 season in order to gain a higher draft pick. Ross has denied the allegations. Flores was hired as the team’s head coach after the 2021 season.
Unable to land a head coach or defensive coordinator job anywhere else, Mike Tomlin and the Steelers hired Flores last February to serve as the team’s Senior Defensive Assistant/Linebackers Coach. He primarily worked with the team’s inside linebackers during practice while helping to create the defense’s weekly gameplan. His name was in demand this offseason and after interviewing with several teams, including for the Arizona Cardinals’ head coaching job, he accepted an offer to become the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive coordinator. In his first press conference after being hired, Flores thanked the Steelers for their support.
“The Rooney family, Mike T, Omar [Khan]” Flores mentioned in thanking several people that helped bring him to Minnesota. “My time in Pittsburgh was tremendous although short-lived. I felt like I made some great relationships there that will last a long, long time. My time there was great.”
Though Flores can officially proceed in court, it’s likely the lawsuit will take quite some time to reach its conclusion. The Judge also ruled Ray Horton and Steve Wilks’ claims against the NFL must go through arbitration.
The NFL has continued to find ways to get more minority head coaches hired across the league. Only one, DeMeco Ryans to Houston, was hired this cycle. Currently, there are only six minority head coaches in the NFL: Miami’s Mike McDaniel, the New York Jets’ Robert Saleh, Tampa Bay’s Todd Bowles, Washington’s Ron Rivera, Tomlin, and Ryans.