The NFL promises an independent investigation into the Brian Flores allegations. Eh?

This week, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a class action lawsuit in the Southern District of New York against the NFL and most of its member clubs, specifically the Dolphins, Giants of New York and the Denver Broncos. In the lawsuit, Flores also said Dolphins owner Stephen Ross tried to pay him bonuses of $100,000 per game that Flores agreed to lose in order to improve Miami’s position in the 2020 draft.

Initially, the league responded publicly, saying Flores’ claims were “baseless”. Now the league has responded more privately, with a memo from commissioner Roger Goodell, in which Goodell appears to acknowledge there may be smoke behind that fire.

“Racism and any form of discrimination are against the values ​​of the NFL,” Goodell wrote. “We have made considerable efforts to promote diversity and adopted many policies and programs which have produced positive changes in many areas, but we must recognize that, particularly with regard to head coaches, the results have been unacceptable. We will reassess and review all diversity, equity and inclusion policies, guidelines and initiatives.

The response from Flores’ lawyers was quite pointed.

Unfortunately, immediately after Coach Flores filed the class action lawsuit, the NFL and various teams reflexively and without any investigation denied the detailed allegations set out in the 60-page complaint. As a result, when we spoke to national media the next day, we made it clear that the NFL should view this class action lawsuit as an opportunity to commit to real change and face the obvious reality.

Today’s statement by the Commissioner is, on the face of it, a positive first step, but we suspect it is more of a public relations ploy than a genuine commitment to change. For too many years, the NFL has hidden behind the cover of foundations meant to protect the rights of black players and coaches, while allowing systemic racial bias to fester in its offices.

The NFL is rolling out the same playbook again and that’s precisely why this lawsuit has been filed. We would love to discuss with the commissioner a real change, but unfortunately he has not contacted us to initiate such a discussion. In fact, no one from the NFL contacted us. In the absence of such discussion followed by impartial and concrete change, we believe that a court or government agency must order a federal controller to oversee the NFL, because the NFL cannot continue to police itself. -same.

Goodell also said in his memo that the league would appoint outside experts to thoroughly review the NFL’s progress in these areas, and that “we expect these independent experts to receive the full cooperation of all people.” associated with the league or any member club as this work progresses.”

And this is where things get a little hilarious. Because if the NFL faces the blowback of Flores’ complaint, it must also answer to Congress for the toxic work environment of former Washington Redskins and the former Washington football team and current commanders. from Washington.

In Friday’s reports by ESPN’s Tisha Thompson, and Liz Clarke of Washington Post, it was revealed that NFL and Washington owner Daniel Snyder had reached an agreement that any findings from attorney Beth Wilkinson’s investigation into the team’s alleged history of sexual harassment could not be made public by one entity without the consent of the other. Congress told the league this was unacceptable and that subpoenas could be in the future for the league.

From Clarke’s report:

The document, known as a ‘common interest agreement’, specifies that the NFL and the team ‘share common legal interests’ in the wake of dozens of women retailer at The Washington Post experiences of sexual harassment, belittled and degraded by team officials.

The existence of the document, which was obtained by a congressional committee investigating the NFL’s handling of the team’s toxic culture and released Friday morning, undermines claims that the NFL’s investigation was impartial. said the Democrats who released the documents.

The agreement “may have been intended to prevent public disclosure of certain information related to the investigation absent the agreement of both parties,” the Democrats wrote in a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Friday, “Which means the WFT or the NFL could try to bury the findings of the investigation.

Based on the two reports, it seems entirely likely that Goodell lied about the nature of the Beth Wilkinson investigation (whether it concluded with an oral or written report) to try to keep Congress out. .

For Goodell to play the “independent expert” card when it is revealed that he and Snyder acted in concert with a mutual interest agreement just shows how much the NFL thinks about the intelligence of its critics. more ardent. The league clearly believes this will pass quickly and quietly, like so many other claims against the league have.

Whether or not that’s true is entirely up to Flores and his willingness to avoid settlements and push the NFL into the discovery phase. Flores has already acknowledged that his NFL career is likely over as a result of his action, so the league better buckle up for a more contentious battle.

Neither the Flores problem nor the Washington problem, whatever they are called, will soon be swept under the rug.

Comments are closed.