Former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores lawsuit and allegations investigation could drag into 2022 season


Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is suing the NFL for racial discrimination and has made serious allegations of impropriety against the Dolphins ownership.

Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is suing the NFL and the Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, and the Denver Broncos for discriminatory hiring practices and his firing from the Miami Dolphins. He filed the 58-page lawsuit on Tuesday, Feb. 1. Despite his claims that the lawsuit would probably end his NFL career, Flores was hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers as a defensive assistant/linebackers coach on Feb. 19. 

Flores is also alleging that Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered him $100,000 for each game that he lost in 2019 in hopes of obtaining a higher draft position to get quarterback Joe Burrow. 

Flores stated in an interview that losing was “not in my DNA” and claims he told Ross “that was never going to happen.” During the 2019 season, Flores and the Miami Dolphins went 5-11 giving the team the number five pick in the 2020 draft with which they selected quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Joe Burrow was taken by the Cincinnati Bengals with the overall first pick of the draft. 

Flores also alleges that Ross had invited him onto his yacht during the winter of 2020 to meet with a “prominent quarterback,” speculated to be then New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Flores claims that Ross wanted Flores to help convince the  “prominent quarterback” to sign with the Dolphins after his contract with his current team expired at the end of the 2020 season. Flores claims he refused to meet with the  “prominent quarterback” because it would violate the NFL’s tampering rules and left the yacht before the “prominent quarterback” Brady arrived for the meeting. 

Flores claims that since his refusal to meet with the  “prominent quarterback” he was “treated with disdain and held out as someone who was noncompliant and difficult to work with,” according to Miami’s WSVN-7. Flores was fired by the Miami Dolphins on Jan. 10, after two back-to-back winning seasons. In both seasons, Flores missed the playoffs by one game. 

Flores also alleges that the New York Giants committed discrimination in their hiring process. A few days prior to his interview with the Giants, New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick, who Flores had worked under for 11 seasons, sent him a text message congratulating him on his job. However, Belichick meant to send the text to coach Brian Daboll, a white candidate for the position. 

Two days later, Flores showed up for the extensive interview, knowing that the position was already filled. Flores claimed that the Giants only interviewed him to meet the requirements of the Rooney Rule since they had already chosen their candidate before interviewing him. According to, “Adopted in 2003, the Rooney Rule is an NFL policy requiring every team with a head coaching vacancy to interview at least one or more diverse candidates.”

NFL teams are required to interview two diverse candidates from the Career Development Advisory Panel list and must conduct an in-person interview with at least one external minority candidate for any general manager of head coaching position. Flores claims that “the Rooney Rule is not working because management is not doing the interviews in good-faith.”

Flores also alleges that the Denver Broncos’ General Manager John Elway, President Joe Ellis, and others showed up an hour late for his interview for that team’s head coaching position. Flores described Elway as “completely disheveled” during the interview. He stated that it was “obvious” they had been “drinking heavily” the night prior to the interview and were not conducting the interview “in good-faith.” 

So far, however, Flores has produced no tangible evidence proving the Broncos’ front office’s behavior was distasteful during the interview. Elway has denied the charge that he and his staff had been out drinking the night before the Flores’ interview, issuing a statement saying that if he appeared disheveled, “it was because we had just flown in during the middle of the night’ following an interview in Denver with another head coaching candidate “and were going on a few hours of sleep to meet the only window provided to us.”

As information continues to become public on this matter, it has become apparent that the Miami Dolphins tried to get Brian Flores to sign a non-disparagement agreement (NDA). “Brian Flores said he gave up millions by refusing to sign Dolphins’ NDA,” reports The Guardian. “Attorneys for Brian Flores said that he left millions of dollars on the table by declining to sign a two-year non-disparagement agreement presented by Miami Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross last month.” It should be noted that such non-disparagement agreements are standard when a head coach is fired. 

Flores has stated that he seeks more “influence of black individuals in the hiring and termination” processes and decisions of high-level positions of an NFL team with diversity ownership of black investors with a majority ownership. He also seeks an increase in the amount of black offense and defense coordinators hired with an incentive through monetary, draft, or additional salary cap for the amount of black individuals hired in these high-level positions.