Brian Flores intends to name a fourth NFL team in his class-action discrimination lawsuit against the NFL, according to a report Sunday from ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio.
Flores will allege, per Florio’s report, that the Houston Texans declined to hire him for their head-coaching vacancy as “retaliation” for his legal action.
“In addition to the pending claims against the league, the Dolphins, the Broncos, and the Giants, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the case will be amended to state a retaliation claim against the Texans for failing to hire Flores,” Florio wrote.
The former Miami Dolphins head coach interviewed for the Texans position before Houston made the surprise decision to retain and promote assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Lovie Smith.
Florio called Smith, who was a late addition to Houston’s coaching search, a “compromise candidate” for a team that seemingly wanted to give the job to former NFL quarterback Josh McCown but knew it could not justify hiring a candidate with no coaching experience beyond the high school level. Flores was the other finalist.
“Obviously, the Texans will never admit that they passed over Flores for an illegal reason,” Florio wrote. “Rarely if ever does an employer confess to improper motivations for employment decisions. Proof of retaliatory intent would come from other less obvious forms (of) evidence. … Cases like this are proven through a careful review of documents, such as emails and text messages. Also, key witnesses will be grilled aggressively during depositions in an effort to test their stories, and ideally (from Flores?s perspective) to blow holes in them.”
Texans general manager Nick Caserio, who worked with Flores for over a decade with the New England Patriots, likely will be among those witnesses. After Smith’s hiring, Caserio said Flores’ lawsuit did not impact the Texans’ decision.
“There were conversations with Brian after (the lawsuit) took place, so it really didn’t affect our process at all,” he told reporters.
After Smith was hired, Flores’ attorneys said in a statement that Flores was “happy to hear that the Texans have hired a Black head coach,” but that “it is obvious that the only reason Mr. Flores was not selected was his decision to stand up against racial inequality across the NFL.”
Flores went 24-25 over his three seasons as Miami’s head coach, finishing above .500 in 2020 and 2021. Smith last served as an NFL head coach in 2015, going 8-24 over two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a largely successful run with the Chicago Bears from 2004-12. The 63-year-old’s most recent head-coaching gig was at Illinois, where he posted a 17-39 record before being fired during his fifth season.
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