Some bombshell news out of the NFL, Brian Flores, the recently fired head coach from the Miami Dolphins, is suing the league and three teams for racist hiring practices and even bribes to lose football games on purpose.
The timing of these allegations is interesting considering just one week ago on Breaking the News we aired a story about how the NFL might be making some progress towards diversity and inclusion.
The story focused on the recent hiring of two black general managers, including the hiring of Kwesi Adofo-Mensah with the Minnesota Vikings.
Yet, here we are, one week later, with allegations that the NFL isn’t making progress, but instead is taking a step backwards when it comes to diversity and inclusion.
"I wish I could say that some of this is surprising, but we recognize that these are systemic issues. These are long term issues,” University of St. Thomas Associate Dean and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Ambassador Dr. Nakeisha Lewis says.
Dr. Lewis says the allegations filed by Flores are very concerning.
In his 58-page lawsuit he filed against the NFL, the Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos and New York Giants, Flores goes into great detail.
The lawsuit alleges that the owner of the Dolphins offered to pay Flores $100,000 per game to lose on purpose to secure a better draft pick.
Also in the suit, Flores accuses the New York Giants of only interviewing him to meet their diversity quota and how the team never even considered him for the job.
The suit included what appears to be a text conversation Flores had with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, where Belichick appears to say that the Giants had already made their decision days before Flores was scheduled to interview for the job.
"I was absolutely shocked when I saw that, the line of text messages that were there, but the truth is, if we think about it, if the system is in place to only honor certain folks for the roles and not taking into true consideration those candidates from underrepresented groups,” Dr. Lewis says.
"It literally becomes that we are doing it just to fill the quota or meet the number, versus we're trying to be a much more inclusive and equitable space."
So, if these allegations are true, is the NFL actually making any progress towards diversity and inclusion?
Dr. Lewis says progress doesn't move in just one direction, there are steps forward, then a step back, because change is hard and it takes time.
Case in point, on the same exact day these allegations were announced, the Washington Football team announced their new team name, the Commanders, officially moving on from the previous name that some found offensive against native Americans.
"We can honor our successes, but still seeing that we need a lot of work, then putting forth the effort to get that done is key. We have to hold ourselves accountable through the process and be honest with where we are,” Dr. Lewis says.
Lawyers who represent Coach Flores say it's likely other black coaches will join this lawsuit against the league.
Stating they have experienced similar situations when applying for coaching jobs.
Right now, the league and all three teams that are named in this suit deny these allegations.
With the NFL saying "we will defend against these claims, which are without merit."
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