How did the NFL respond to Brian Flores’ discrimination lawsuit?
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a memo saying the results of the league’s efforts to promote diversity among head coaches have been “unacceptable’.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has issued a statement saying that the leagues’ efforts to promote diversity, in particular among head coaches, have had unacceptable results. He says the league “will reevaluate and examine all policies, guidelines, and initiatives relating to diversity, equity, and inclusions.”
He said they will get outside experts to help the league in this review, and also ask for input from former and current players and coaches with the aim of having policies that would achieve better results, as “racism and any form of discrimination is contrary to the NFL’s values.”
The memo, sent to all NFL teams, comes only four days after the NFL said the discrimination claims of former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores were “without merit”.
Flores vs. the NFL and three teams
Flores had filed a lawsuit against the NFL, the New York Giants, the Denver Broncos, and the Dolphins alleging racial discrimination.
The suit states that “the NFL remains rife with racism, particularly when it comes to the hiring and retention of black head coaches, coordinators, and general managers.”
There is currently only one black head coach among 32 in the league, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. Meanwhile, 70% of all NFL players are African-American.
Change in tune
Goodell’s statement says, “We understand the concerns expressed by Coach Flores and others this week. While the legal process moves forward, we will not wait to reassess and modify our strategies to ensure that they are consistent with our values and long standing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Aside from Flores’ claims of discrimination, he also alleged that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered to pay him $100,000 for every loss of the team in 2019, as Ross wanted Miami to be able to get a better draft pick.
In Goodell’s memo, he says that they will take this issue that relates to NFL integrity seriously and review the matter “thoroughly and independently."
A matter of public relations
The lawyers of Brian Flores have responded to Goodell's statement, saying it is a positive step "on the surface". But as the NFL's initial reaction to the former coach's claims was to dismiss them categorically, the attorneys say they "suspect that this is more of a public relations plot than real commitment to change."