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NFL Announces Diversity Advisory Committee amid Brian Flores Lawsuit

Erin WalshMarch 28, 2022

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The NFL announced Monday the creation of the Diversity Advisory Committee, which will review league and club diversity policies with a focus on senior-level coaching and front-office positions. 

The news comes as the NFL is facing concerns and backlash about diversity in hiring after former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit against the league and several of its teams alleging discrimination.

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Less than two months ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to teams regarding the fact that the league's current diversity policies hadn't done enough to ensure equality. 

The committee will be led by Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith and include experts in business, academics, legal, DEI and football, the league announced. 

There are currently just five minority head coaches in the NFL: the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin, Washington Commanders' Ron Rivera, Houston Texans' Lovie Smith, New York Jets' Robert Saleh and Miami Dolphins' Mike McDaniel. 

In addition to suing the league, Flores is suing both the Broncos and Giants. He alleges that in 2019, Broncos general manager John Elway arrived to his head coaching interview hungover. 

As for the Giants, he alleges the franchise only interviewed him for its vacant head coaching position this offseason to satisfy the NFL's Rooney Rule, which requires clubs to interview minority candidates for coaching positions.

Flores also mentioned Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy in his lawsuit. Bieniemy has interviewed for several head coaching positions over the last few years but has been passed on each time. 

“Eric Bieniemy has been a highly successful NFL coach for almost 12 years and has yet to be offered a Head Coach position despite more than 70 vacancies during that time,” the lawsuit says.

In addition to the Diversity Advisory Committee, the NFL is expected to make more diversity-related changes before the 2023 hiring cycle, according to NFL.com

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