Brian Flores, former Miami Dolphins head coach, was recently fired on Jan. 10, 2022. There has been a lot of recent controversy following his termination, as acts of racial injustice and other ripples in the management of the NFL have come to light and led to a lawsuit conducted by Flores himself.
Flores began his lawsuit against three NFL teams, Giants, Broncos and Dolphins, as he searched for a new team to coach following his termination. There were not many people that understood the move by the Dolphins, as Flores had led the team to back-to-back winning seasons, both nearly making the playoffs as well. Flores experienced acts of racial injustice while he began interviews with different teams, and from former Dolphins owner, Stephen Ross.
There were many instances where Ross and Flores did not agree on certain things, which led to tension between the two. Flores spoke out saying that he was bribed by Ross into “tanking” games, losing on purpose in order to achieve higher draft stock, however, Flores refused the $100,000 bonus per loss on the season. Additionally, Flores said that after winning many games late into the 2019 season, he was met with anger from Ross after he “was compromising [the team’s] draft position.”
Flores’ lawsuit also includes acts committed by the New York Giants and their management. “Flores also alleged that the Giants interviewed him last month for their head-coaching vacancy for no other reason than compliance with the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview minority candidates for their open positions,” said ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques. Flores later received texts from New England Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick, congratulating him on the hire, however, he was mistaken thinking he was texting Brian Daboll, the actual coach the Giants hired.
Flores has since been hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers as their senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach.
In Week 17 of the NFL regular season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traveled to play the New York Jets in MetLife Stadium. The Bucs surprisingly trailed the Jets in the third quarter, and there seemed to be a commotion on the Tampa sideline. Antonio Brown, a veteran wide receiver known for his controversial persona, took off all his gear and jogged off the field shirtless while fans cheered him on. Brown never made another appearance in the game or in a uniform for the rest of the season. “He is no longer a Buc,” said Head Coach Bruce Arians after the game.
Immediately following the event, the main story that dominated the media was that the Tampa coaching staff asked Brown to enter the game, but he refused to play. However, Antonio Brown released a statement the following day saying that the situation transpired because of a dispute over an ankle injury. Brown was marked as questionable the week before and did not practice Wednesday and Thursday. On the day of the game, Brown said that he was given a large amount of a “dangerous painkiller” and sent out to play the Jets. However, he claims that his ankle hurt too much to play, and the coaching staff told him to get in. He said that he could not play, and then Arians yelled “you’re done” at him. Brown explains that he only left the stadium completely because he was fired.
Since the incident, there has been incredible controversy over what actually happened. The Bucs coaching staff denied that they did anything inappropriate regarding the ankle injury. Many have claimed that Brown was healthy enough to run off of the field, so his ankle must have been healthy enough to play in the game. Currently, Brown is seriously considering taking legal action against the NFL.