A United States Judge in New York has ruled that the NFL—along with three of its teams—will have to answer in open court to the charges of racist hiring practices brought by Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores.
While certain aspects of the case, including Flores’ retaliation claim against the Dolphins, will be handled through private arbitration, U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni ruled that the NFL, the Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Houston Texans will have to address Flores’ claims of systematic discrimination against Black coaches in the league.
“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,” Flores’ attorney, Douglas Wigdor, said in a statement.
“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.”
Flores initially filed his lawsuit alleging that the NFL was “rife with racism” in February of 2022 after being fired by the Dolphins, and while being interviewed by several NFL teams, he was unable to secure another head coaching job. The lawsuit alleged that the teams who interviewed him did so in order to satisfy the NFL’s “Rooney Rule”, requiring them to interview at least one minority candidate for head-coaching jobs.
In her written decision, Judge Caproni noted that it was difficult to understand how there was only one Black head coach at the time Flores filed his lawsuit in a league of 32 teams with Black players making up about 70% of the rosters.