The NFL on Tuesday filed a motion with federal court to force Brian Flores’ group lawsuit against the league and several teams into arbitration, in which he and two other coaches allege racial discrimination in employment.
The request was filed with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and included redacted contracts for all the coaches listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit – Flores, Steve Wilkes and Rai Horton. The submission also includes a copy of the NFL constitution and regulations.
In its submission, the NFL claimed that all three coaches in their signed contracts agreed to arbitrate any claims against the teams that hired them and that “the NFL Constitution arbitration provisions agreed by prosecutors explicitly cover claims involving two or more member clubs and claims between any coach and any member club – that’s exactly the case here. “
The NFL also claimed in its submission that these signed treaties also compel any claim against the league to arbitration, and the Supreme Court precedent requires that each person arbitrate their claims on an individual basis.
Flores, who filed the lawsuit in February, also stated that Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered him $ 100,000 per loss during the 2019 season, which was his first in the team, in order to improve his position in the draft. In its submission on Tuesday, the NFL stated that this is also not a matter for federal courts to decide, writing: “Courts are particularly reluctant to interfere in such matters, because the internal standards of professional sports leagues” are not necessarily known to the courts some expertise in their application. ‘ To support that argument, the NFL cited Charles O Finley & Co. v. Kuhn (1978) and Crouch v. NASCAR, Inc. (1988) as a precedent.
Douglas Wigdor, one of Flores’ lawyers, argued before a judge in May that arbitration was the wrong way to settle a lawsuit. Flores’ lawyers also said in a statement issued in April, when the NFL first expressed its intention to file a request for forced arbitration, in order to eliminate the much-needed transparency in the case.
Flores’ lawyers want the case to remain in court for a jury trial, where it would eventually proceed to disclosure and each party could see the relevant documents held by the other.
Flores cited discrimination from Dolphin over his dismissal in January and from the Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Houston Techans – teams he interviewed for head coach jobs but did not hire. Flores claimed that he received “fake” interviews from the Broncos and the Giants in order to fulfill the requirement of Rooney’s rule to interview minority coaches. The Texans were later added to the lawsuit after Flores stated that the team “repaid” him by not hiring him because he filed a lawsuit.
The Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans were added to the lawsuit in April when Wilkes and Horton joined the lawsuit. Wilkes states that the Cardinals “did not give him any significant chance to succeed”, who fired him after one season in which Arizona finished 3-13. Horton was transferred to the job of Titan in favor of Mother Mularki in 2016.
Mularkey, who has been the team’s interim head coach for the last nine games of the 2015 season, said in a 2020 podcast that Titan owners told him they would get the job before completing the interview process, including interviewing two minority candidates.
Flores is currently employed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as a senior assistant assistant and linebacker coach. Wilkes is currently employed by the Carolina Panthers as a defensive pass coordinator and assistant coach. Edited copies of Flores ‘contract with the Steelers and Wilkes with the Panthers are also attached to the NFL application, as is Flores’ contract with the New England Patriots, the team he was on before he was hired by the Dolphins.
Horton is now retired.
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