NEW YORK — Brian Flores says his lawsuit against the NFL over alleged racist hiring practices will continue even if he becomes a head coach again this offseason because the league needs change.
Flores has interviewed with the Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints for their coaching vacancies. If they call, Flores said he will listen, but the suit will go on.
“This is about changing the hiring practices in the National Football League, and that’s what this lawsuit is about,” Flores said Wednesday on CNN. “I want to coach football that’s what I’m called to do.”
Flores’ lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court. It is seeking class-action status and unspecified damages from the league, the Miami Dolphins, the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants, along with unidentified individuals.
Flores, 40, was fired last month by Miami after leading the Dolphins to a 24-25 record over three years. They went 9-8 in their second straight winning season, but failed to make the playoffs during his tenure.
According to the lawsuit, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told Flores he would pay him $100,000 for every loss during the coach’s first season because he wanted the club to “tank” so it could get the draft’s top pick.
The lawsuit alleged that Ross then pressured Flores to recruit a prominent quarterback in violation of the league’s tampering rules. When Flores refused, he was cast as the “angry Black man” who is difficult to work with and was derided until he was fired, the suit said.
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Flores said he had conversations with general manager Chris Grier that Ross was upset that Miami was compromising its draft position by winning too many games. Flores said he also talked repeatedly with Ross, who said the team didn’t need to win right then and the coach was under contract.
“That’s not something you make up,” Flores said of those conversations.
What drove Flores to file the lawsuit was a string of text messages with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick three days before his scheduled Giants interview, leading Flores to believe Brian Daboll already had been chosen as the new coach.
“It was humiliating to be quite honest,” Flores said. “There was disbelief, there was anger, there was a wave of emotion for a lot of reasons. I think this is why we filed the lawsuit.”
Flores said he understands this lawsuit may keep him from ever coaching again. He’s being called the NFL’s Rosa Parks in taking on the league’s hiring practices, and Flores called that a humbling comparison.
“That gives me more confidence that we made the right decision here and that we need to continue to fight for that change,” Flores said.