Brian Flores secures new position with the Pittsburgh Steelers despite lawsuit against the NFL

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Kamryn Jackson, Contributor

For years, Black players have occupied most of the roster spots on all 32 teams. Yet, non-Black coaches hold an overwhelming number of coaching positions in the NFL, specifically head coaching positions.

Brian Flores, former head coach of the Miami Dolphins and former assistant coach for the New England Patriots, recently sued the NFL, Dolphins, Broncos, and Giants. Flores alleges a pattern of racial discrimination regarding the league’s hiring practices.

Not too long ago, Flores recalls receiving a text from the head coach and general manager of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick. 

Belichick sent text messages to Flores congratulating him on getting the head coaching job with the New York Giants. However, Flores wasn’t scheduled to be interviewed by the Giants for another three days. Flores responded, “are you sure you’re messaging the right guy?”.

Interestingly enough, two Brians were up for the head coaching position with the Giants, Flores and Brian Daboll. Belichick meant to send his congratulations over to Daboll but instead sent them to Flores accidentally. 

Belichick’s text message implies that Daboll essentially got the head coaching job before Flores even had the opportunity to do his interview, suggesting that Flore’s never had a fair chance at the job, which speaks to the unethical hiring practices of the NFL.

In an interview with ESPN, Flores recalls how he felt after receiving Belichick’s text messages. 

“I was in disbelief, and I was humiliated,” Flores said. “I was upset that I wasn’t getting a true opportunity to show what I can do and show what I bring to a team, which I feel is a lot.”

The Giants organization denies the allegations of Daboll acquiring the head coach position prior to Flores’ interview and claim that Belichick has no association with the Giants. “Mr. Belichick does not speak for and has no affiliation with the Giants. Mr. Belichick’s text exchange provides no insight into what transpired during our head coaching search.”

Neither Belichick nor the Patriots organization has addressed the allegations nor the lawsuit.

Flores knew that filing a lawsuit could potentially play a role in whether or not he’d coach in the NFL ever again. Thanks to head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mike Tomlin, not coaching is no longer a concern for Flores.

On Feb. 19, the Steelers announced that Flores would be joining their coaching staff as a senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach. 

Joining the Steelers is a turnaround for Flores, considering he was out of a job after his firing from the Dolphins.

In a press release, coach Tomlin spoke on the hiring of Flores. 

“I am excited about Brian Flores joining our coaching staff given his history of developing and teaching defensive players during his time in the NFL. Brian’s resume speaks for itself, and I look forward to adding his expertise to help our team,” Tomlin said. 

Although there was much excitement throughout the NFL world with the hiring of Flores, it is arguable that he is entirely overqualified for the position.

Sports journalist Mike Freeman from USA Today had much to say on the Steelers’ new hire.

“Let me be really clear: Flores getting hired isn’t a victory for anyone. He’s massively overqualified for the job he has now. And him getting the position almost proves the point of his lawsuit,” Freeman said.

A focal point of Flores’s lawsuit was the lack of Black head coaches in the NFL. Although Flores is fortunate to have a job in the NFL, the idea that he will be a defensive assistant and linebacker coach, although he is qualified to be a head coach, is somewhat counter-productive.

The goal is to give Black coaches a better opportunity to hold prominent coaching positions. In that case, Flores going from head coach to defensive assistant isn’t necessarily the best start.

Nonetheless, Flores plans to continue with his lawsuit against the NFL in hopes that it’ll facilitate real change throughout the league, as well as other major sports leagues.