Tom Brady Reportedly Is ‘Prominent’ QB Mentioned In Brian Flores Lawsuit

The Dolphins allegedly wanted Flores to illegally recruit Brady in 2020

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February 1

Brian Flores’ class-action lawsuit against the NFL primarily focuses on the league’s hiring practices and ongoing lack of diversity.

But it also levies two explosive allegations at Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who fired Flores from his head-coaching job last month.

In the suit, Flores alleges that Ross both offered to pay him $100,000 for every Dolphins loss during the 2019 season — when Ross allegedly wanted to tank for the No. 1 draft pick and Flores refused — and tried to get him to violate NFL tampering rules to recruit a “prominent quarterback” after the ’19 campaign.

“After the end of the 2019 season,” the lawsuit alleges, “Mr. Ross began to pressure Mr. Flores to recruit a prominent quarterback in violation of League tampering rules. Mr. Flores repeatedly refused to comply with these improper directives. Undeterred, in the winter of 2020, Mr. Ross invited Mr. Flores onto a yacht for lunch. Shortly after he arrived, Mr. Ross told Mr. Flores that the prominent quarterback was ‘conveniently’ arriving at the marina.

“Obviously, Mr. Ross had attempted to ‘set up’ a purportedly impromptu meeting between Mr. Flores and the prominent quarterback. Mr. Flores refused the meeting and left the yacht immediately. After the incident, Mr. Flores was treated with disdain and held out as someone who was noncompliant and difficult to work with.”

The suit does not disclose the identity of this unnamed star QB. But Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post reported it was Tom Brady, who had just completed his final season with the New England Patriots at the time.

Since Brady was a free agent during the 2020 offseason, the Dolphins were free to pursue him — but not until the NFL’s legal tampering period began in mid-March. Flores, who was with Brady in New England for 15 seasons, alleges these recruitment efforts took place before that point, when teams still were barred from contacting external free agents.

Flores’ lawsuit doesn’t specify exactly when the alleged marina incident took place — other than “in the winter of 2020” — but Ross addressed a potential Brady pursuit during that year’s Super Bowl week, acknowledging his team was not allowed to speak with the QB until March.

Ross also said his team would be a poor fit for the then-42-year-old Brady because they were in the midst of a rebuild.

The Dolphins were rumored as a potential Brady suitor but never offered him a contract. He went on to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, leading them to a Super Bowl title in his first season. Brady played one more year with the Bucs before officially announcing his retirement Tuesday.

Miami kept veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and used the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on Tua Tagovailoa.

Flores’ lawsuit alleges his refusal to agree to Ross’ tanking and tampering led to him being “ostracized and ultimately … fired” two years later, then “subsequently defamed throughout the media and the league as he was labeled by the Dolphins brass as someone who was difficult to work with.”

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“This is reflective of an all too familiar ‘angry black man’ stigma that is often casted upon Black men who are strong in their morals and convictions while white men are coined as passionate for those very same attributes,” the suit reads.

The Dolphins released a statement “vehemently” denying Flores’ claims.

“We are aware of the lawsuit through the media reports that came out this afternoon,” the statement read, via ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe. “We vehemently deny any allegations of racial discrimination and are proud of the diversity and inclusion throughout our organization. The implication that we acted in a manner inconsistent with the integrity of the game is incorrect. We will be withholding further comment on the lawsuit at this time.”

The NFL denied all allegations, as well.

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