Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.
Earlier this week, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit accusing the league of “systemic racism” and identified examples of teams conducting “sham interviews” with Black coaching candidates without any intention of hiring them.
As evidence, he included text messages with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick that seem to show Belichick congratulating Flores for winning the New York Giants coaching job days before Flores had even interviewed. In fact, Belichick had meant to text Brian Daboll, who would eventually be named coach. Roughly 70 percent of NFL players are Black, but the only Black head coach out of 32 teams is Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin.
These are the purported text messages from Bill Belichick to Brian Flores that allegedly implicate the Giants of a “sham” interview. https://t.co/DUCB5pGXwh pic.twitter.com/TNWf72Rl2i
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) February 1, 2022
Within hours of filing his lawsuit, the NFL released a statement insisting diversity “is core to everything we do” and said Flores’ claims were “without merit.” The rapid response struck veteran NFL reporters as curious. “How, exactly, could the NFL know the claims by Flores are ‘without merit’ two hours after the suit emerged?” NBC’s Peter King asked on Twitter.
Easy answer, Peter. They didn’t know! So four days after emphasizing its commitment to diversity, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to every team all but conceding several of Flores’ points.
“We understand the concerns expressed by Coach Flores and others this week,” Goodell said, adding that the lack of diversity among head coaches is “unacceptable.” He said the NFL would retain outside counsel to “reevaluate and examine” its diversity policies and ensure that “real and tangible” results are achieved.
Days after league statement called Flores claims “without merit,” Roger Goodell sent teams the following memo on racism and diversity….