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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores has filed a class action lawsuit, claiming the “NFL remains rife with racism.”

At the center of the lawsuit is a text message from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

The lawsuit claims Belichick texted Flores instead of Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll for landing the New York Giants’ head coaching job.

In screenshots of the exchange, Flores asked Belichick, “Coach, are you talking to Brian Flores or Brian Daboll. Just making sure.”

Belichick replied, “Sorry – I [expletive] this up. I double checked & I misread the text. I think they are naming Daboll. I’m sorry about that. BB.”

Text message exchange between Bill Belichick and Brian Flores that was included in the lawsuit. (Source: Wigdor LLP)

Flores had to then sit through a “sham interview that was held only in an effort to comply with the Rooney Rule,” the lawsuit claims.

But, according to the lawsuit, this apparently wasn’t the first time that Flores was used to comply with the Rooney Rule.

“Indeed, in 2019 Mr. Flores was scheduled to interview with the Denver Broncos. However, the Broncos’ then-General Manager, John Elway, President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Ellis and others, showed up an hour late to the interview. They looked completely disheveled, and it was obvious that they had drinking heavily the night before. It was clear from the substance of the interview that Mr. Flores was interviewed only because of the Rooney Rule, and that the Broncos never had any intention to consider him as a legitimate candidate for the job. Shortly thereafter, Vic Fangio, a white man, was hired to be the Head Coach of the Broncos,” the lawsuit states.

Click Here To Read The Full Class Action Lawsuit

As for how the Dolphins factor in, the lawsuit alleges that Flores was not terminated due to “poor collaboration,” as widely reported, but because he refused owner Stephen Ross’ “directive to ‘tank’ for the first pick in the draft.”

“Indeed, during the 2019 season, Miami’s owner, Stephen Ross, told Mr. Flores that he would pay him $100,000 for every loss, and the team’s General Manager, Chris Grier, told Mr. Flores that ‘Steve’ was ‘mad’ that Mr. Flores’ success in winning games that year was ‘compromising [the team’s] draft position,’” the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit then goes on to state that “Mr. Ross began to pressure Mr. Flores to recruit a prominent quarterback in violation of League tampering rules,” which Flores refused.

A year later, the lawsuit claims, Ross tried ambushing Flores into meeting the “prominent quarterback,” but Flores left before such a gathering took place.

“From that point forward, Mr. Flores was ostracized and ultimately he was fired. He was subsequently defamed throughout the media and the League as he was labeled by the Dolphins brass as someone who was difficult to work with. This is reflective of an all too familiar “angry black man” stigma that is often casted upon Black men who are strong in their morals and convictions while white men are coined as passionate for those very same attributes,” the lawsuit states.

According to Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post, Tom Brady was the “prominent quarterback” Ross wanted Flores to recruit.

Tom Brady was the quarterback Stephen Ross allegedly wanted Brian Flores to meet in an alleged yacht meeting before Brady was a free agent according to a league source

— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) February 1, 2022

In a statement after filing the lawsuit, Flores said he understands it may negatively impact his chances to land another NFL head coaching job, but nevertheless felt compelled to go public with the accusations.

“God has gifted me with a special talent to coach the game of football, but the need for change is bigger than my personal goals. In making the decision to file the class action complaint today, I understand that I may be risking coaching the game I love and has done so much for my family and me,” Flores said. “My sincere hope is that by standing up against systemic racism in the NFL, others will join me to ensure that positive change is made for generations to come.”

Tuesday evening, the Miami Dolphins released a statement in response to Flores’ allegations.

“We are aware of the lawsuit through the media reports that came out this afternoon. We vehemently deny any allegations of racial discrimination and are proud of the diversity and inclusion throughout our organization. The implication that we acted in a manner inconsistent with the integrity of the game is incorrect. We will be withholding further comment on the lawsuit at this time,” the organization wrote.

The NFL also released a statement Tuesday evening, stating, ​”The NFL and our clubs are deeply committed to ensuring equitable employment practices and continue to make progress in providing equitable opportunities throughout our organizations. Diversity is core to everything we do, and there are few issues on which our clubs and our internal leadership team spend more time. We will defend against these claims, which are without merit.”

The lawsuit claims to seek to “shine a light on the racial injustices that take place inside the NFL and to effectuate real change for the future.” Additionally, the following injuncting relief is sought:

  • Increasing the influence of Black individuals in hiring and termination decisions for GM, head coaching, and coordinator jobs.
  • Funding a committee dedicated to sourcing Black investors to take majority ownership stakes in NFL teams.
  • Requiring teams to “reduce to writing the rationale for hiring and termination decisions, including a full explanation of the basis for any subjective influences.” That would include “side-by-side comparisons of objective criteria, such as past performance, experience and objective qualifications.”
  • Increasing the number of Black offensive and defensive coordinators, while creating and funding a training program for lower-level Black coaches to develop into coordinator level jobs.
  • Incentivizing the hiring of Black GMs, head coaches and coordinators.
  • Creating “complete transparency with respect to pay” for all GMs, head coaches and coordinators.

The lawsuit detailed the history of Black coaches getting overlooked for jobs or fired prematurely, including Jim Caldwell, Steve Wilks, David Culley, Kris Richard, Teryl Austin, Eric Bieniemy as well as Flores.

South Florida attorney David Weinstein says the lawsuit will impact more than the football field.

“He’s made some very strong allegations in his lawsuit. And he’s pointed to specific instances of conduct that have occurred,” Weinstein said. “There are many in Washington who we’re going to be looking at this… this is going to ring loud and clear across the entire country.”

Stay with CBSMiami.com for updates on this developing story.

News Source: cbslocal.com

Tags: miami news brian flores local tv miami dolphins miami news miami news facing south florida the team’s class action lawsuit class action lawsuit released a statement the lawsuit states the lawsuit claims the lawsuit claims tom brady head coaching job that flores general manager tuesday evening interview increasing bill belichick the lawsuit black coaches the interview text message the dolphins stephen ross according flores flores said the nfl the broncos the nfl

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Steelers Work out Ex-Raiders Starter, Former Chiefs 3rd-Round Pick

Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images Marquel Lee of the Raiders celebrates on the field after a victory over the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on November 18, 2018.

The Pittsburgh Steelers seem poised to sign a linebacker within the next 24 hours. On Friday the team worked out three veteran ’backers — this according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network — all of whom were mid-round selections in the NFL Draft.

Marquel Lee is a Former Raiders 5th-Round Pick

The most accomplished of the three is Marquel Lee, a 2017 5th-round pick of the Raiders out of Wake Forest. Lee won the right to start at middle linebacker as a rookie, and made six starts before an ankle injury forced him to miss time. When he returned from the injury his role was reduced, yet he finished his first season in the league with 25 tackles and two tackles for loss. His sophomore campaign went better, as he made 10 starts and appeared in all 16 games, recording 68 tackles, including three tackles for loss, three quarterback hits and three passes defensed, as per Pro Football Reference.

But Lee, 26, has increasingly been hampered by injuries in recent years, appearing in just five games (with three starts) as a result of ankle and toe issues in 2019. Then he missed the entire 2020 season after undergoing offseason surgery on his right ankle. He returned to action in 2021, but was largely limited to a special teams role.

Finally, in March 2022, Lee signed a contract with the Buffalo Bills but was released in mid-August. Thus far he has appeared in 45 career games with 19 starts.

Dorian O’Daniel Was a 2018 3rd-Round Pick of the Chiefs

Arguably the next most notable name amongst the tryout players is Dorian O’Daniel, 28, a 6-foot-1, 217-pound outside linebacker who played his college football at Clemson and was drafted by the Chiefs No. 100 overall in 2018. He appeared in 58 games during the four years he played in Kansas City, but made just a single start over that time frame. To date, O’Daniel has been credited with 58 total tackles (37 solo), including three tackles for loss, one sack, two quarterback hits and a pair of fumble recoveries.

Joel Iyiegbuniwe is a Former Bears 4th-Round Pick

Last but not least, there’s Joel Iyiegbuniwe (pronounced jo-EL ee-yay-boo-NEE-way), a 6-foot-1 outside linebacker who has spent the first four years of his career with the Bears after Chicago made him a 4th-round pick in the 2018 draft out of Western Kentucky.

He appeared in 58 games for the Bears between 2018-2021, during which time he was credited with 29 tackles (25 solo), with one tackle for loss and one forced fumble. He has played just 49 career snaps on defense, with a total of 1,214 snaps on special teams, according to Pro Football Reference.

2 Ex-Steelers Linebackers Had Tryouts on Friday

In other workout news, former Steelers linebackers Joe Schobert and Ulysees Gilbert III both worked out for potential employers on Friday (as per the NFL’s daily personnel notice), with the former working out for the Seattle Seahawks and the latter getting a look-see from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Schobert has been unemployed since he was released by the Steelers in mid-March of 2022, except for ‘a short stay’ in Denver during training camp in August.

Gilbert was a 6th-round pick of the Steelers in 2019 (Akron) who played in 28 games for Pittsburgh between 2019-21, but was consistently held back by a variety of injuries, including a fractured L-5 vertebra that sidelined him for the second half of his rookie season.

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