Tuesday's filing by the NFL in federal court was to force Brian Flores' class action lawsuit against the NFL and several other teams in which he and two coaches claim racial discrimination in hiring practices to arbitration.
The United States District Court for Southern District of New York filed it. The redacted contracts for all of the plaintiffs — Flores Steve Wilks, Ray Horton and Steve Wilks — were included in the filing. The file also contains a copy the NFL's constitution as well as its bylaws.
In its filing, the NFL claimed that all three coaches had agreed in their signed contracts that they would arbitrate any claims against teams that employed them. It also claimed that the “NFL Constitution's arbitration provisions to the which Plaintiffs agreed expressly cover any claims involving two or more members clubs and any coach and any claim between any coach and any club — exactly what is the case here.”
In its filing, the NFL also claimed that any claim against it must be arbitrated because of the Supreme Court precedent that each person has to arbitrate his own claims.
Flores,It is also claimed that Stephen Ross, the owner, offered $100,000 per loss for the 2019 season. This was his first season with the team. The NFL filed a motion Tuesday stating that the matter is not for federal courts to decide on. To support that argument, the NFL cited Charles O. Finley & Co. v. Kuhn (1978) and Crouch v. NASCAR (1988) as precedent.
Douglas Wigdor was one of Flores’ lawyers. He had argued in May before a judge that arbitration is not the best way to resolve the case. Flores' attorneys stated in an April statement that the NFL had first indicated its intent to file a motion for compel arbitration. This was to eliminate transparency.
Flores' attorneys would like the case to stay in the courts for a jury hearing. There it could move to discovery so that each side could inspect relevant documents.
It is unlikely that a Manhattan federal judge will rule on the arbitration issue before the end of summer.
David Gottlieb, a coach's lawyer, stated Wednesday that moving the case to arbitration secrecy was in effect “stripping our client of their rights.”
Gottlieb stated, “Arbitration means privatizing the judiciary branch.” “All we ask for is an open-ended and fair process.
He stated that lawyers representing the coaches will argue the suit against the league should be filed in federal court, as any arbitration agreements were made with the teams and not the league.
Flores claims that he was fired in January by the Dolphins because of discrimination., And — There were two teams that Flores interviewed with for head coaching jobs, but was not hired. Flores claimed that he was given “sham” interviews by the Broncos, Giants and Giants in order to meet the Rooney Rule requirement for minority coaches to be interviewed. Flores alleged later that the Texans were added to the suit because Flores filed his lawsuit.
TheAnd Wilks, Horton and others joined the lawsuit in April. Wilks claims that he was not given a chance to succeed by the Cardinals after he finished his first season with Arizona at 3-13. Horton was relegated to the Titans by Mike Mularkey in 2016.
Mularkey had served as the interim head coach of the team for the last nine games in 2015. He stated that the Titans owners had told him that he would be hired before the interview process was complete, which included two minor candidates.
Flores is employed currently by theas a senior linebackers coach and defensive assistant. Wilks is currently employed at the as the defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coaches. Additional redacted copies of Flores’ contracts with the Steelers, and Wilks’ with the Panthers were attached to the NFL's filing. He was a member of the Dolphins' team before he was hired.
Horton is now retired.
This report was contributed by The Associated Press.