NFL Files Motion to Shift Brian Flores Lawsuit to Arbitration Under Roger Goodell

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 22, 2022

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - JANUARY 09: Head coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins looks on prior to the game against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The NFL and six of its teams—the Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos, New York Giants, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals—have filed a motion for private arbitration in the racial discrimination lawsuit filed by Pittsburgh Steelers assistant coach Brian Flores, per The Athletic's Daniel Wallach.

Daniel Wallach @WALLACHLEGAL

BREAKING: The NFL, <a href="https://twitter.com/MiamiDolphins?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MiamiDolphins</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/Giants?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Giants</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/HoustonTexans?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HoustonTexans</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/Broncos?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Broncos</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/Titans?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Titans</a>, and <a href="https://twitter.com/AZCardinals?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AZCardinals</a> have filed a motion to shift the entire Brian Flores racial discrimination lawsuit into private arbitration before Commissioner Goodell, and to "stay" the proceedings in the interim. <a href="https://t.co/IOe8vuV6PG">pic.twitter.com/IOe8vuV6PG</a>

Daniel Wallach @WALLACHLEGAL

Shockingly, nary a mention of the Jon Gruden lawsuit or the Nevada's judge's recent decision to deny the NFL's motion to compel arbitration. Very similar issues. And the same law firm (Paul Weiss) was representing the NFL in that case too. Very unbecoming of the former USAG.

In February, Flores sued the NFL, Dolphins, Broncos and Giants. In his lawsuit, he said that the Giants only interviewed him to meet the requirements of the Rooney Rule—which stipulates that teams must hold at least one in-person interview with an external candidate of color for general manager or head coaching vacancies—and had already decided on hiring Brian Daboll.

Flores used a text exchange with Bill Belichick to support that assessment, as Belichick texted him that he heard from "Buffalo and NYG that you are their guy" before Flores ever interviewed.

He said that Belichick also texted him: "Sorry—I f--ked this up. I double checked and misread the text. I think they are naming Brian Daboll. I'm sorry about that."

Daboll was formerly the offensive coordinator for the Bills.

Flores also said that during a 2019 interview with the Denver Broncos, several executives showed up late and appeared to be hungover.

And he said Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered to pay him $100,000 per loss in the 2019 season in an effort to tank for a better draft pick. He also said Ross attempted to get him to tamper with another team's quarterback after that season and did so again in the winter of 2020.

Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post reported in February the quarterback in question was Tom Brady:

Joe Schad @schadjoe

Tom Brady was the quarterback Stephen Ross allegedly wanted Brian Flores to meet in an alleged yacht meeting before Brady was a free agent according to a league source

Joe Schad @schadjoe

Brian Flores admires and respects Tom Brady but didn’t want to tamper and also didn’t think it was the right time to recruit Brady considering the status of the Dolphins’ rebuild, which was intended to be a long-term plan, per source.

Flores later added the Texans to his suit, saying the team refused to hire him for its own head coaching vacancy this offseason as retaliation for his lawsuit.

Former Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks and former NFL assistant coach Ray Horton later joined the suit, with Wilks saying the Cardinals hired him as a "bridge coach" in 2018 and unfairly fired him after just one season.

Horton, meanwhile, accused the Titans of bringing him in for a "sham interview" in 2016, saying they had already chosen to hire Mike Mularkey as head coach and only interviewed him to satisfy the Rooney Rule.