If Roger Goodell hoped a memo that acknowledged the lack of black head coaches in the NFL as “unacceptable” would help the league’s fight against Brian Flores, the fired Dolphins coach’s team of lawyers fought back quickly.
The former Miami Dolphins coach is suing the league and three of its teams—the New York Giants, the Denver Broncos, and the Dolphins—over racial discrimination within their hiring practices. The league would come out and state that his lawsuit was ‘without merit.’
NFL Commission Roger Goodell would then send out a memo to every team in the league and admit that the lack of diversity in the coaching ranks was “unacceptable,” and that the league will “reevaluate” its policies to ensure racial equity.
“Racism and any form of discrimination is contrary to the NFL’s values,” the memo stated. “We have made significant efforts to promote diversity and adopted numerous policies and programs which have produced positive change in many areas, however we must acknowledge that particularly with respect to head coach the results have been unacceptable. We will reevaluate and examine all policies, guidelines and initiatives relating to diversity, equity and inclusion, including as they relate to gender.”
Hours later, Flores’ team of lawyers would fire back as they suspected the memo was nothing more than a “public relations ploy.”
“The statement made today by the Commissioner is, on the surface, a positive first step, but we suspect that this is more of a public relations ploy than real commitment to change,” they wrote. “For too many years, the NFL has hidden behind the cover of foundations that were supposed to protect the rights of Black players and coaches, all while letting systemic racial bias fester in its front offices … The NFL is now rolling out the same playbook yet again and that is precisely why this lawsuit was filed.”
Flores 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.