On the first day of Black History Month, just two years after America had a supposed “racial awakening” following the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and the shooting of Jacob Blake, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores followed in Colin Kaepernick’s footprints by exposing the NFL’s blatant racism.
Flores’ 58-page class-action lawsuit against the NFL, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, and the Denver Broncos alleges discrimination regarding his interview process. “Alleged” should be used very loosely here, as this is a league that has a very long history of not hiring — or quickly firing — capable Black coaches in favor of mediocre white ones.
However, the reason why this particular event has everyone’s attention is because Flores included a text message exchange with this former boss — Patriots head coach Bill Belichick — who informed him that his interview with the Giants was just for show as the team had already locked in on hiring Brian Daboll — a white man with no prior head coaching experience.
Screenshots will always catch you up. People love an image or video that they can keep coming back to, just ask Ray Rice.
However, this isn’t on Belichick, as the only thing he’s guilty of is texting the wrong “Brian.” In 2019, Flores was Belichick’s defensive coordinator with the Patriots when they held Kansas City’s offense to zero points in the first half of the AFC Championship Game, and the Los Angeles Rams to only 3 points on their way to winning Super Bowl LIII. After the game, Belichick praised Flores as he was days away from being officially hired as the Dolphins head coach.
“Brian called a great game, as he has all year,” Belichick said. “He’s done a tremendous job for me. In the time he’s been with our organization, he’s worn I don’t know how many different hats — scouting, quality control, special teams, defense, safeties, linebackers, defensive coordinator. He’s done a lot of things. He’s done them all well. He’s been a great team player. … He’s a tremendous person and a tremendous guy.”
On top of the ongoing willful racism that continues to run rampant in the NFL, hopefully, this situation will finally expose something, and somebody, else, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross — a two-faced con-artist who says whatever he needs to please the people around him in whatever room he’s spewing his propaganda.
Flores is “alleging” that Ross tried to bribe him with $100,000 per loss so that the team could tank to improve their draft order. This sounds exactly like something he would do as the man that created the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) in 2015, which is “dedicated” to improving race relations through collegiate and professional sports-based initiatives. At the height of the conversation around kneeling during the anthem, Ross flipped-flopped on his stance while simultaneously being honored by the Jackie Robinson Foundation with its ROBIE Lifetime Achievement Award for being a “longtime champion of equal opportunity.”
“I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag,” Robinson once wrote.
The saddest thing about this scenario is that by taking a stand and filing this lawsuit, a talented Black man’s career is over in the NFL. We just watched the same thing happen to Kaepernick and Eric Reid a few years ago with their collusion case against the league. But, this goes a little deeper with Flores, as he recently had a second interview with the Houston Texas — a franchise so racist that hate has dismantled that team. Yet, like most Black folks in this country, Flores was willing to “play the game” and try to find a job with a franchise with a history like the Texans after working for somebody like Ross in Miami.
This is what it’s like to be Black in America. Having to work for, and interview with, people who you know don’t deserve your talents and skills, all in the name of career advancement.
Some are wondering what the NFL will do. The answer to that is “nothing” or close to it, as they’ve already drawn up a statement that proves that they’re in denial about a systemic issue that they’ve created.
”The NFL and our clubs are deeply committed to ensuring equitable employment practices and continue to make progress in providing equitable opportunities throughout our organizations. Diversity is core to everything we do, and there are few issues on which our clubs and our internal leadership team spend more time. We will defend against these claims, which are without merit.”
Over the last few months, we’ve watched as the NFL wants us to believe that no other people or teams were implicated in the emails that got Jon Gruden fired — which means that they also want us to believe that there was nothing in there about Kaepernick, either. And as we’re in the midst of one of the most exciting postseasons in NFL history and coming off a year in which the league was responsible for producing 75 of the 100 most-watched TV programs of 2021, you start to realize just how Teflon the NFL is.
So, if you’re hoping that Brian Flores’ lawsuit will “inspire change,” don’t get your hopes up. This is a league that will more than likely tell billionaire Robert F. Smith no if he tries to become the league’s first Black owner with the Denver Broncos. The NFL works in the same way that America operates, which means that if a Black man worth $6.7 billion will have issues trying to buy a team. You can only guess how hard it is to get a job coaching one.
Thus is the plight of the overqualified Black person in America, and the NFL.