NEW YORK – Greek-American attorney John Elefterakis appeared on CBS Mornings on February 2 along with fellow attorney Doug Wigdor both representing NFL coach Brian Flores in his lawsuit against the NFL over alleged racist hiring practices.
Flores’ lawsuit was filed on February 1 in Manhattan federal court. It is seeking class-action status and unspecified damages from the league, the Miami Dolphins, the Denver Broncos, and the New York Giants, along with unidentified individuals.
The NFL, Dolphins, Broncos, and Giants have denied Flores’ accusations. In its statement, the NFL said it will defend “against these claims, which are without merit.”
Flores told CBS Mornings: “We didn’t have to file a lawsuit for the world to know that there’s a problem from a hiring standpoint in regards to minority coaches in the National Football League. The numbers speak for themselves.”
“Today, there are three minority head coaches, including one Black man, out of 32 in the league,” CBS Mornings reported, adding that the number is “down from eight in 2018,” while “about 70% of players in the NFL are Black.”
“We filed the lawsuit so that we could create some change,” Flores told CBS Mornings. “And that’s important to me. I think we are at a fork in the road. We are either going to keep it the way it is or go in another direction and actually make some real change in where we are actually changing the hearts and minds of those who make decisions to hire head coaches, executives, etc.”
Elefterakis said during the interview on CBS Mornings that “one of the things we’re doing to effectuate this change, the Rooney Rule, is tied to the assumption that presidents, owners are going to do the right thing, hire the best, most qualified candidate. What we wanted to do is tie certain things to performance and action through this.”
Elefterakis noted that minority candidates for positions are not given an equal opportunity. He referred to the NFL’s response “to the 60-page complaint with serious allegations from a decorated head coach,” saying it was not “we’ll investigate, we’re troubled by this, we’ll look into it,” but an “immediate ‘no’, denial, disregard and defend.”
Flores, 40, was fired last month by Miami after leading the Dolphins to a 24-25 record over three years. They went 9-8 in their second straight winning season, but failed to make the playoffs during his tenure.
According to the lawsuit, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told Flores he would pay him $100,000 for every loss during the coach’s first season because he wanted the club to ‘tank’ so it could get the draft’s top pick.
Flores told CBS Mornings “that he understands that by filing this lawsuit he may not get another head coaching opportunity in the NFL but it is needed to bring change throughout the league.”
“I understand the risks, and yes, it was a difficult decision. I went back and forth. And like I said, I love coaching. I do. It’s something that I’m passionate about. It brings me joy. And I love helping young people reach their potential and become the best version of themselves. I’m gifted to do that. But this is bigger than that,” he said, CBS Mornings reported.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.