In what is turning out to be a sports news bombshell, fired Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores filed a class action lawsuit against the NFL alleging racist hiring practices for coaches and general managers and, frankly, it’s about time.
Now, let’s be clear. The NFL has 1,696 players and 72 percent of those players are black. Yet somehow, after Flores and Houston’s David Culley were fired this year, this same league has only one Black coach and zero Black owners. Granted, that could change if it turns out billionaire Robert F. Smith successfully bids to purchase the Denver Broncos.
Now consider that neither Flores nor Culley had the worst seasons this year. In fact, under Flores, Miami had a winning season this year with the same 9-8 record as Philadelphia who clinched a playoff berth in the NFC East.
Furthermore, the NFL’s own executive vice president of football operations, Troy Vincent last month admitted that “there is a double standard” in the league when it comes to hiring and retaining black coaches
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired Tony Dungy after a winning season. The Detroit Lions fired Jim Caldwell after a winning season and two playoff appearances. Arizona fired Steve Wilks after only one season. Houston fired Culley, who inherited an impossible situation with the Texans, after only one season.
Yet somehow, coaches like Detroit’s Dan Campbell, whose Lions had a season even worse than Houston’s, keep their jobs. Matt Patricia had three seasons coaching the Lions (all of them losing) before he was let go. Pat Shurmur and Joe Judge each got at least two losing seasons with the New York Giants before they were fired. Even Dave Shula got four years with the Cincinnati Bengals without a winning season before he was finally fired.
Now tell me any other corporation that could demonstrate that kind of clear bias and admitted double standard and not face a discrimination lawsuit?
You can’t because it simply doesn’t exist.
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I hope I’m wrong, but I’ll bet that the next several months will be filled with mental gymnastics and character attacks targeted against Flores. I hope I’m wrong, but I’ll bet that his coaching career is over as NFL owners close ranks and blackball him from the league just like they did with Colin Kaepernick (If anyone had any doubts before, it should be clear that he was right). I hope I’m wrong, but I’ll bet that we’ll hear a number of “compromise” solutions like the “Rooney Rule” touted as a landmark middle ground without offering any real concessions or solutions.
But don’t be fooled. Football may be a sport, but this isn’t a game. This is about justice and I, for one, say it’s about time.
Antjuan Seawright is a Democratic political strategist, founder and CEO of Blueprint Strategy LLC, a CBS News political contributor, and a senior visiting fellow at Third Way. Follow him on Twitter @antjuansea.