Brian Flores' Motion for Discovery in NFL Discrimination Lawsuit Denied by Judge

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 4, 2022

Mark Brown/Getty Images

A U.S. District Court judge denied a motion by Brian Flores' representatives to obtain discovery before arguing against the NFL's attempt to take the case into arbitration, according to NFL Network's Cameron Wolfe.

Wolfe shared a statement from the lawyers for the former Miami Dolphins head coach:

Cameron Wolfe @CameronWolfe

The U.S. district judge presiding over Brian Flores-NFL case denied the Flores team request to take discovery on NFL’s request to move this case into arbitration. Next briefs from both sides due later this month with judge decision expected afterwards.<br><br>Flores’ lawyers statement: <a href="https://t.co/BVnhG9o3Gb">pic.twitter.com/BVnhG9o3Gb</a>

Flores sued the NFL along with the Dolphins, Denver Broncos and New York Giants in February, alleging he was the victim of racial discrimination.

The 41-year-old said he received what amounted to token interviews with the Broncos and Giants during the hiring process. He also alleged Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered him $100,000 for every loss the team had in 2019 because the franchise wanted to get the best draft position possible.

The NFL recently concluded an independent investigation into the Dolphins and found the organization violated league policies regarding the integrity of the game. The announcement included a pair of seemingly contradictory findings.

"The Dolphins did not intentionally lose games during the 2019 season," the league said. "Nor did anyone at the club, including Mr. Ross, instruct Coach Flores to do so."

However, Ross did in fact emphasize draft position over Miami's on-field record:

"On a number of occasions during the 2019 season, Mr. Ross expressed his belief that the Dolphins' position in the upcoming 2020 draft should take priority over the team's win-loss record. These comments were made most frequently to Team President and CEO Tom Garfinkel, but were also made to General Manager Chris Grier, Senior Vice President Brandon Shore and Coach Flores."

Some questioned the logic behind dismissing the intent of Ross' comments behind the scenes:

Andrew Brandt @AndrewBrandt

Wait, so the NFL found that Stephen Ross DID say something to Flores about paying him $100,000 per game to lose, but "it was not intended to be a serious offer."?<br>Of course, owners joke about that kind to thing to their coaches all the time😏

ProFootballTalk @ProFootballTalk

The idea that the employees of Stephen Ross didn't take seriously his repeated comments about 2020 draft position being more important than 2019 win-loss record is laughable. One of the benefits of being a multi-billionaire is not having to expressly order a code red.

Ross issued a statement saying the investigation "cleared our organization on any issues related to tanking and all of Brian Flores' other allegations."

Miami Dolphins @MiamiDolphins

Statement from Stephen Ross. <a href="https://t.co/Ori647H0oF">pic.twitter.com/Ori647H0oF</a>

In addition to the alleged tanking, the independent investigation focused on contact between Dolphins officials and Tom Brady while he was signed to the New England Patriots and again after he joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said investigators discovered "tampering violations of unprecedented scope and severity."

Not only did Ross and Bruce Beal, a limited partner with the team, speak with Brady, but Miami also had "impermissible communications" with the agent for then-New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton.

As a result of the infractions, the Dolphins forfeited a first-round pick in 2023 and a third-round pick in 2024. Ross is also suspended through Oct. 17 and has to pay a $1.5 million fine.

With Flores' suit ongoing, the potential for more revelations remains. The NFL filed a motion in June to move the matter to arbitration.

Flores is now the linebackers coach and a senior defensive assistant for the Pittsburgh Steelers.


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