Brian Flores can pursue discrimination claims in court docket, decide guidelines


INDIANAPOLIS — A federal decide in New York dominated Wednesday that former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores can proceed to pursue claims in court docket towards three groups and the NFL in his racial discrimination lawsuit, whereas Flores and two different Black coaches who joined his swimsuit should submit different claims to league-administered arbitration.

U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni dominated that Flores’s claims towards the Dolphins, Steve Wilks’s claims towards the Arizona Cardinals and Ray Horton’s claims towards the Tennessee Titans have to be submitted to arbitration underneath the authority of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, based mostly on the phrases of their employment contracts. But Flores could litigate his claims in federal court docket towards the Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Houston Texans, alongside along with his associated claims towards the NFL, Caproni dominated.

“This case shines an unflattering spotlight on the employment practices of National Football League (‘NFL’) teams,” Caproni wrote on the outset of her 30-page choice. “Although the clear majority of professional football players are Black, only a tiny percentage of coaches are Black.”

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Flores filed the lawsuit final 12 months in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Wilks and Horton joined the swimsuit in April. The swimsuit had listed the opposite NFL groups, recognized as “John Doe teams 1 through 26,” as defendants.

“We are pleased that Coach Flores’ class claims of systematic discrimination against the NFL and several teams will proceed in court and ultimately before a jury of his peers,” Douglas H. Wigdor, an legal professional for Flores, mentioned in a press release. “We are disappointed the court compelled arbitration of any claims before Mr. Goodell as he is obviously biased and unqualified to rule on these matters. We expect him to delegate those matters to a truly neutral arbitrator as a matter of fundamental fairness. We look forward to pursuing all these claims to trial in their various forums.”

The NFL had sought to have all of the claims resolved by arbitration.

“Diversity and inclusion throughout the NFL make us a better organization,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy mentioned in a press release. “We recognize there is more work to be done and we are deeply committed to doing it. That said, we are pleased with the court’s decision, which correctly holds that the vast majority of claims in this case are properly arbitrable by the Commissioner under binding agreements signed by each plaintiff. We intend to move forward promptly with arbitrations as directed by the court and will seek to dismiss the remaining claims.”

Caproni wrote in her ruling that the events should seem March 24 for a pretrial convention.

Flores spent the not too long ago accomplished NFL season as a senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers after being fired by the Dolphins following the 2021 season. He not too long ago was employed because the defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings. He beforehand interviewed with the Broncos, Giants and Texans for his or her head teaching jobs.

The ruling got here as Goodell participated in diversity-related conferences Wednesday in Indianapolis on the NFL scouting mix. This offseason, one Black coach was employed among the many 5 head coaches employed by groups leaguewide. That was DeMeco Ryans by the Texans. He joined the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Todd Bowles because the NFL’s solely lively Black head coaches. The Dolphins’ Mike McDaniel is biracial.

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