Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores has filed a lawsuit against the NFL, the Dolphins, the New York Giants, and the Denver Broncos, primarily focused on racial allegations in the hiring processes of coaches. Included in the lawsuit are allegation that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered to pay Flores $100,000 per loss in the 2019 season as part of a plan for the Dolphins to “tank” the season to earn the number one overall draft pick.
Flores also alleged Ross attempted to fabricate a meeting between Flores and an unnamed quarterback, assumed to be Tom Brady, ahead of the 2020 free agency period to recruit the quarterback to sign with the Dolphins. The meeting, which was supposed to look accidental as Ross and Flores were having lunch on Ross’ yacht and the quarterback “happened” to be in the marina at the time, would have been against the NFL’s tampering rules as the quarterback was still under contract with his team and still weeks from becoming a free agent.
According to The Washington Post’s Mark Maske, the league is planning to look into the “tanking and tampering allegations” from the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also alleges the Dolphins leaked information to make Flores appear to be “someone who was difficult to work with” as part of a “all too familiar ‘angry black man’ stigma.”
With the lawsuit filed on Tuesday and Flores making media rounds on Wednesday, Ross responded late Wednesday night, releasing a statement. In the statement, he strongly denied any wrong doing on his part or by the Dolphins organization:
With regards to the allegations being made by Brian Flores, I am a man of honor and integrity and cannot let them stand without responding. I take great personal exception to these malicious attacks, and the truth must be known. His allegations are false, malicious and defamatory. We understand there are media stating that the NFL intends to investigate his claims, and we will cooperate fully. I welcome that investigation and I am eager to defend my personal integrity, and the integrity and values of the entire Miami Dolphins organization, from these baseless, unfair and disparaging claims.
Ross’ statement comes after the Dolphins released a statement on Tuesday, immediately after the lawsuit was filed.
“We are aware of the lawsuit through the media reports that came out this afternoon. We vehemently deny any allegations of racial discrimination and are proud of the diversity and inclusion throughout our organization. The implication that we acted in a manner inconsistent with the integrity of the game is incorrect. We will be withholding further comment on the lawsuit at this time.”
Flores will have to prove his allegations, and there could be severe consequences with whatever the ultimate outcome of this lawsuit is. If Flores does show Ross was attempting to pay for losses and tamper with another team’s player, the Dolphins could face fines and losses of draft picks, while Ross could be forced to see the team. If Flores has levied false accusations on Ross, the Dolphins owner could counter with a defamation lawsuit.
There are clearly a lot of unknowns that have to be determined before there will be any resolution to this situation. For his part, Ross is very clearly denying that there was any wrongdoing.