On Tuesday, the NFL filed a motion in federal court to compel Brian Flores to file a class action lawsuit against the league and several teams, in which he and two other coaches allege racial discrimination in hiring practices, to arbitration.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and included revised contracts for all the coaches named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit – Flores, Steve Wilkes and Ray Horton. The filing also includes a copy of the NFL constitution and regulations.
The NFL argued in its submission that all three coaches agreed in their signed contracts to arbitrate any claims against the teams that hired them and that “the plaintiffs’ approved NFL Constitution arbitration provisions expressly cover claims involving two or more member clubs and claims between Any coach, any member club – that’s exactly the case here.”
The NFL also argued in its submission that those signed contracts also enforce any claim against the league for arbitration and that Supreme Court precedent required each man to arbitrate his claims on an individual basis.
Flores, who filed his lawsuit in February, also alleged that Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered him $100,000 per loss during the 2019 season, his first with the team, to improve his preliminary position. In its motion filed on Tuesday, the NFL stated that this is also not a matter for the federal courts to rule, writing, “the courts are particularly reluctant to interfere in such matters, because the internal standards of professional sports” are not necessarily familiar to the courts and it is clear that they are It requires some experience in its application. To support this argument, the NFL cited Charles O. Finley & Co. v. Kuhn (1978) and Crouch v. NASCAR (1988) as precedent.
Douglas Wigdor, one of Flores’ attorneys, had argued before a judge in May that arbitration was the wrong way to resolve the lawsuit. Flores’ attorneys also said in a statement released in April, when the NFL first expressed its intention to file a motion to compel arbitration, that doing so would negate much-needed transparency in the case.
Flores’ lawyers want the case to remain in the courts for trial by jury, where it will eventually move to discovery and each side can view relevant documents held by the other.
Flores alleged discrimination by Dolphins for his dismissal in January and from the Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Houston Texas – teams he interviewed for coaching jobs but were not hired. Flores claimed to have received “mock” interviews from the Broncos and Giants to meet the requirements of Rooney’s rule for interviewing minority coaches. The Texans were later added to the lawsuit after Flores claimed the team “retaliated” him by not hiring him for filing his lawsuit.
The Arizona Cardinals and the Tennessee Titans were added to the suit in April when Wilkes and Horton joined the suit. Wilkes claims he was “given no real chance of success” by the Cardinals, who fired him after one season in which Arizona finished 3-13. Horton was relinquished to the job of Titans in favor of Mike Mullarkey in 2016.
Molarkey, who was the team’s interim head coach for the last nine games of the 2015 season, said on the 2020 broadcast that the Giants’ owners had told him he would get the job before they completed the interview process, including interviewing two. Minority candidates.
Flores is currently employed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as a senior defensive assistant and quarterback coach. Wilkes is currently employed by the Carolina Panthers as the defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach. Revised versions of Flores’ contract with the Steelers and Wilks with the Panthers were also attached to the NFL filing, as well as Flores’ contract with the New England Patriots, the team he worked for before he was hired by the Dolphins.
Horton is now retired.
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