Less than a month after Brian Flores’ class action lawsuit against the league and several teams for their alleged racist hiring practices was not mentioned at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s annual press conference at the Super Bowl — where he was again pressed about the lack of diversity in the NFL and the NFL Media Group – it looks like we’ve come to a point where the league may have to work things out in private or risk exposure in public.
Since the NFL settled his case with Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid when racism was at the heart of it, the smartest move for a league with its reputation and history — who is represented by a black person (Loretta Lynch) — would be to write an airtight nondisclosure agreement and cut a big check.
I pray that the meaning remains rare, and that the league and these owners are stupid enough to thwart the supposed advice of the person they hired to help them out of this mess. Besides, the dude who owns Twitter has proven that wealth and intelligence are sold separately.
Wednesday, a New York judge decided that portions of Flores’ claims may be pursued in open court and not in arbitration. last fall, Flores’ lawyers alleged racial bias against the NFL because the league wanted things to go to arbitration. The league wanted this option because things would be behind closed doors and that would mean Goodell would be the referee. Flores’ the lawyers wrote that arbitration would allow unreasonably unilaterally biased “kangaroo courts” to decide the outcome.
This news adds more momentum to Flores’ case, as Steve Wilks and Ray Horton have joined him in the lawsuit. After being fired as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Flores spent last season as an assistant in Pittsburgh and is now the defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings. Wilks was the interim head coach of the Carolina Panthers, but was not hired after the season despite the team’s owner David Tepper claiming he was trying to root out the league’s “old boy network”. Horton is USFL coach.
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Judge Valerie Caproni’s ruling does cite that the specifics about individual coaching contracts and if they were properly signed are headed to arbitration. However, she also wrote that the case shone “an unflattering spotlight on National Football League employment practices” and that “although the vast majority of professional football players are black, only a tiny percentage of coaches are black”.
“We are pleased that Coach Flores’ class claims of systematic discrimination against the NFL and multiple teams will proceed in court and ultimately before a jury of his peers,” he added. Flores’ lawyers said in a statement. “We are disappointed that the court has imposed arbitration of any claims before Mr. Goodell, as he is manifestly biased and unqualified to adjudicate on these matters. We expect him to delegate these matters to a genuinely neutral arbitrator. out of concern for fundamental fairness.We look forward to pursuing all of these claims to trial in their various forums.
But wait, there’s more
According to Associated pressCaproni also wrote “that coaches’ descriptions of their experiences of racial discrimination in a league with a ‘long history of systematic discrimination against black players, coaches and managers – are incredibly troubling.The report goes on to say that the judge fIt was “difficult to fathom” that there was only one black head coach when Flores sued in a 32-team league with black players making up around 70% of the roster. The judge will also retain his authority to review Goodell’s decision if he is the referee.
The NFL and its owners are the only reason they are in this position. By being unfair to black employees — especially black coaches — for decades and choosing not to settle this matter out of court for over a year, they’ve painted themselves into a corner.
Last February, Brian Flores went on national television and said CBS Matinees, “We are at a crossroads in the road right now. Either we’re going to keep things the way they are, or we’re going to take a different direction and make some real changes. I hope he is a man of his word. Because taking the supposed settlement that is more than likely would be the easy way out. Rejecting it for a chance to erase this system in open court should be the only goal. Besides, he’s already come all this way. Might as well finish the job.