The fight against racism in the NFL is far from letting up.
AfroTech previously reported that former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores sued the league in February. The lawsuit claimed that there was “racism in hiring.”
“God has gifted me with a special talent to coach the game of football, but the need for change is bigger than my personal goals,” said Flores in a past statement. “In making the decision to file the class action complaint today, I understand that I may be risking coaching the game that I love and that has done so much for my family and me. My sincere hope is that by standing up against systemic racism in the NFL, others will join me to ensure that positive change is made for generations to come.”
According to ESPN, former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks and former Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Ray Horton have joined Flores’ movement. The two Black coaches have each experienced their own personal share of the league’s longtime racial discrimination and made the active choice to be one of the few to address it head-on.
Wilks alleges that he was hired by the Arizona Cardinals as a “bridge coach,” ultimately not being given a fair opportunity to excel in the NFL.
“When Coach Flores filed this action, I knew I owed it to myself, and to all Black NFL coaches and aspiring coaches, to stand with him,” Wilks said in a statement released by his lawyers, according to ESPN. “This lawsuit has shed further important light on a problem that we all know exists, but that too few are willing to confront. Black coaches and candidates should have exactly the same ability to become employed, and remain employed, as white coaches and candidates. That is not currently the case, and I look forward to working with Coach Flores and Coach Horton to ensure that the aspiration of racial equality in the NFL becomes a reality.”
For Horton, he’s using his voice after an incident that occurred in 2016. He was reportedly only offered an interview to be the head coach of the Titans “to comply with the Rooney Rule and to demonstrate an appearance of equal opportunity and a false willingness to consider a minority candidate for the position,” according to the outlet.
“I am proud to stand with Coach Flores and Coach Wilks in combatting the systemic discrimination which has plagued the NFL for far too long,” Horton shared in a statement. “When I learned from Coach Mularkey’s statements that my head coach interview with the Titans was a sham, I was devastated and humiliated. By joining this case, I am hoping to turn that experience into a positive and make lasting change and create true equal opportunity in the future.”
The Amended Lawsuit
In addition to the initial teams included in the lawsuit, the Titans, Cardinals, and Texans have now also been added.
Also, the amended lawsuit further exposes Dolphins owner Stephen Ross for having allegedly offered $100,000 per loss during the 2019 season “to strengthen the value of the Dolphins’ draft pick.” The filing discloses that Flores sent a memorandum on Dec. 4, 2019, to general manager Chris Grier, CEO Tom Garfinkel, and senior vice president of football and business administration Brandon Shore about what he was up against with the league’s alleged harmful actions.