NEW YORK — Brian Flores, a lawyer, told a judge Monday that arbitration would not be the right way to resolve a case alleging racism in hiring practices in the NFL. The reason is that Roger Goodell, the league commissioner would be the arbitrator. That would make it “unconscionable.”
Douglas Wigdor, an attorney, stated that the league tried to “behind closed door” Flores' claims. The Manhattan federal court hearing saw none of the coaches.
Flores claimed that the NFL was “rife in racism”, despite the fact that it was publicly condemned by the NFL.
The fired Flores as head coach in January Miami DolphinsAfter leading the team to a record of 24-25 over three years, and two consecutive winning seasons, including the 2021 season when they were beaten by 9-8, he was hired as an assistant coach. Since then, he has been appointed as the assistant coach to the team. Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ray Horton and Steve Wilks, two other coaches, joined his lawsuit last month.
Six minority head coaches are currently working in the NFL, which is a league where most of the players are Black.
Loretta Lynch, former U.S. Attorney General, represented the NFL and told Judge Valerie E. Caproni, that all claims in the suit must be referred to arbitration under the terms of the employment agreements.
Wigdor claimed that the league displayed “this unconscionable biased of the arbitrator” after the NFL declared the claims in the suit were without merit. He stated that Goodell should not arbitrate the claims, given his $120 million per year in compensation from the league's teams.
Lynch claimed Lynch invited Lynch's three coaches and their attorneys to meet with league officials to talk about the “important questions” around racial equality that the NFL is seeking to address.
She stated, “Today, the declined to meet with me.”
Wigdor stated that he did not accept the league's invitation for discussion of racial matters because there would not be a magistrate judge or a judge present.
Judge has placed the lawsuit on hold for now and set up a August schedule to allow submissions of written arguments.
This schedule will likely be further delayed once Wigdor informs the judge in writing that he would like to request permission to gather evidence about the arbitration practices of league before the matter is resolved.
This story was provided by The Associated Press.