Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores accused the NFL of racial discrimination in a lawsuit Tuesday.
Flores said he interviewed for several positions that he claims he was never in the running for.
He also said Bill Belichick texted him instead of Brian Daboll, congratulating him on the Giants job.
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick accidentally texted former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores to congratulate him on getting a job with the New York Giants, thinking he was Brian Daboll, according to an explosive racial discrimination lawsuit filed by Flores against the NFL and multiple teams.
Flores’ class-action lawsuit, filed Tuesday, takes aim at the league’s diversity hiring mechanism, the “Rooney Rule,” claiming that the NFL “remains rife with racism.”
The Rooney Rule, an affirmative action measure established in 2003, requires NFL teams to interview diverse candidates for head coaching positions.
At the center of the lawsuit, Flores’ attorney included a text from Bill Belichick on January 24, congratulating another coach on a job coaching the Giants — three days ahead of Flores’ scheduled interview for the Giants job.
According to the lawsuit, Belichick texted Flores, “Sounds like you have landed — congrats!!”
Flores asked Belichick if the Patriots coach knew something he didn’t, and Belichick responded by saying that he heard from “Buffalo & NYG that you are their guy,” screenshots showed.
Flores then asked Belichick if he thought he was talking to current New York Giants coach Brian Daboll, who was the Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator at the time.
“Sorry — I fucked this up,” Belichick responded to Flores, according to screenshots. “I double checked and misread the text. I think they are naming Brian Daboll. I’m sorry about that.”
A representative for Belichick all did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
In the lawsuit, the former Dolphins coach claimed that the “dream job” interview that he had lined up with the Giants for the head coach position was “nothing more than a discriminatory façade designed to show false compliance with the Rooney Rule.”
Flores’ lawsuit says the treatment was a pattern, and that he was “walking into Thursday’s interview with no chance to become the Giants Head Coach.”
In a statement, the Giants said that they considered hiring Flores “until the 11th hour” but hired the person they felt was “most qualified to be our next head coach.”
“We are pleased and confident with the process that resulted in the hiring of Brian Daboll,” the Giants said in a statement after the lawsuit was filed. “We interviewed an impressive and diverse group of candidates.”
The Miami Dolphins told Insider that the team’s leadership “vehemently deny any allegations of racial discrimination and are proud of the diversity and inclusion throughout our organization.”
The NFL also denied the claims made in the lawsuit in a statement on Tuesday, saying the organization was committed to “equitable employment practices” and that it would defend itself against claims it says were made “without merit.”
In 2019, Flores said he had a similar experience interviewing for the Denver Broncos head coach position after he claimed top Broncos officials showed up an hour late to his interview.
“They looked completely disheveled, and it was obvious that they had [been] drinking heavily the night before,” according to the lawsuit, adding that from Flores’ impression of the interview, the Broncos “never had any intention to consider him as a legitimate candidate for the job.”
The Broncos said the allegations around their team were “blatantly false” and that “pages of detailed notes, analysis, and evaluations from our interview” proved they were genuinely interested in recruiting Flores.
Flores said in a Tuesday statement that he understands that his lawsuit could put his coaching career at risk.
“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,” he said in a statement.
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