Brian Flores, the former Miami Dolphins head coach who is suing the New York Giants and the NFL, along with his former team and the Denver Broncos, for alleged racial biases, demanded that the league reject any requests for arbitration hearings.
Flores’ lawyer Douglas Wigdor sent a letter to the NFL blasting the lack of transparency in arbitration hearings, which would empower a third-party to resolve the dispute outside of a court of law — and would typically be done in private, without any details emanating to the public.
“Arbitration is by its very nature a secretive process that takes place behind closed doors and outside of the public eye. The lack of transparency in arbitration only serves to continue the status quo — which, in this case, is one that you have conceded must be fairly evaluated and potentially overhauled,” Wigdor’s letter said. “That cannot happen in arbitration. In addition to being secret and confidential, it is a well-accepted fact that arbitration presents a barrier to justice for victims of discrimination and other misconduct.”
Flores, who is Black, is suing the NFL and the three franchises, saying that the league and various teams have discriminated against Black coaches and front office personnel.
After leading the Dolphins to a 10-6 record in 2020, and then 9-8 last season, Miami fired Flores — which he alleges was for racial reasons.
Also troublingly for the league, the former head coach, who now works as a senior defensive assistant on the Pittsburgh Steelers, alleged that team owner Steve Ross offered him cash incentives if he lost games in an effort to get a better draft pick.
The former head coach is also alleging that the Giants used him for a “sham interview” on Jan. 27 while filling their vacant coaching position, after New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told Flores three days prior to his Giants interview that the team was planning to hire former Bills defensive coordinator Brian Daboll — which they did.
The Giants categorically denied the allegations, saying they made their final decision to hire Daboll on Jan. 28, after their interview with Flores.
“After we interviewed six exceptional and diverse candidates, the decision on who we would hire as head coach was made on the evening of January 28, one day after Mr. Flores spent an entire day in our offices going through his second interview for the position,” the Giants said in a statement.
The team added that Belichick “does not speak for” the franchise and had “no insight into what actually transpired during our head coaching search.”
[READ ALSO: Giants hire Brian Daboll as next head coach]
Now, the Dolphins have requested that the matter go through an arbitration process — but Flores, through his lawyer, asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to reject that ask, as well as any similar requests that should come from the Giants or Broncos.
“Race discrimination cannot be eradicated behind closed doors and the integrity of the game depends on transparency,” Wigdor added in his letter.
The Giants have not yet asked for an arbitration hearing, and it is not clear that they plan to follow Miami’s lead in doing so.