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Former Dolphins coach says refusal to throw games cost him his job

Randy Mancini 12 Feb 2
FILE PHOTO: NFL - Miami Dolphins Media Day
FILE PHOTO: American Football - NFL - Miami Dolphins Media Day - Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club, Ware, Britain - October 15, 2021 Miami Dolphins' Brian Flores during a press conference REUTERS/Paul Childs

February 3, 2022

By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) – Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said on Wednesday his refusal to throw games as a way to improve the football club’s chances of landing a top draft pick ultimately cost him his job.

Flores, who was fired last month by Miami, alleged in a proposed class action complaint on Tuesday that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered him $100,000 for every loss in 2019 as incentive to help the team land a higher draft pick in 2020.

Asked to comment on Flores’ accusations, the Dolphins referred Reuters to a statement the team issued on Tuesday that said “the implication that we acted in a manner inconsistent with the integrity of the game is incorrect.”

The order for drafting players is mostly determined by each team’s finish in the previous season, with the teams ranked lowest in the standings getting the first picks.

The thrust of the lawsuit was to accuse the NFL and its 32 teams of discriminating against Black candidates for coaching and management jobs. Flores is Black.

The NFL, in a statement on Tuesday responding to the suit, said the claims of racial bias were without merit and that its clubs were committed to ensuring equitable employment practices.

“This game’s done a lot for me. I grew up not far from here in the projects in Brownsville, Brooklyn. I didn’t grow up with a lot. This game, you know, changed my life,” Flores, in his first interview since the lawsuit was filed, told “CBS Mornings” on Wednesday when asked about the alleged financial incentive.

“So, to attack the integrity of the game, that’s what I felt was happening in that instance. And I wouldn’t stand for it … I think it hurt my standing within the organization and ultimately was the reason why I was let go.”

Miami’s decision to part ways with Flores was one of the more surprising head coach firings of the 2021 NFL season given the Dolphins won eight of their final nine games after starting the season 1-7.

Flores, who took over a struggling Miami team in 2019, went 24-25 during his three seasons in charge but failed to lead them to the playoffs, a drought that dates back to the 2016 season.

According to Flores, teams have conducted “sham interviews” with Black candidates to satisfy a 2003 NFL policy known as the Rooney Rule requiring that minorities be interviewed for coaching jobs.

Flores alleges that the New York Giants interviewed him for a head coach position last week, having already decided to hire a white coach, Brian Daboll.

In a statement on Tuesday the Giants said they were “pleased and confident with the process that resulted in the hiring of Brian Daboll” and that Flores “was in the conversation to be our head coach until the eleventh hour.”

Flores told “CBS Mornings” the lawsuit was filed with the hopes of creating change in the hearts and minds of those who hire head coaches, executives and other team leaders. Black coaches are rare in a sport where 70% of the players are Black.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Howard Goller)