PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers have hired Brian Flores, who is suing the NFL over alleged racist hiring practices, as a defensive assistant, the team announced Saturday.
Flores, 40, who was fired by the Miami Dolphins in January after three seasons with the team, filed a class-action suit against the National Football League and three of its teams on Feb. 1, citing discriminatory hiring practices.
Flores, who is Black, joins the staff of coach Mike Tomlin, who was left as the NFL’s only Black head coach after the Dolphins announced Flores’ dismissal. Houston has since hired Lovie Smith, who is Black; Miami hired Mike McDaniel, who is biracial, to replace Flores.
“I am excited about Brian Flores joining our coaching staff given his history of developing and teaching defensive players during his time in the NFL,” Tomlin said in a statement. “Brian’s resume speaks for itself, and I look forward to him adding his expertise to help our team.”
Flores’ 58-page lawsuit, filed in a Manhattan federal court, seeks class-action status and unspecified damages from the league, the Dolphins, the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants, along with unidentified individuals, ESPN reported.
According to the sports news network, Flores said the current NFL culture was racially segregated, comparing the league’s management style to that of a plantation.
The Dolphins, Broncos and Giants have denied the allegations.
Flores led the Dolphins to a 24-25 record and failed to make the playoffs during his three-year tenure. He went 9-8 in Miami during the 2021 season after a 1-7 start.
Specifically, Flores’ lawsuit alleged that he and other Black NFL coaches have been routinely denied positions as head coaches, offensive and defensive coordinators, quarterbacks coaches and general managers, ESPN reported.
“(The NFL’s) 32 owners -- none of whom are Black -- profit substantially from the labor of NFL players, 70% of whom are Black. The owners watch the games from atop NFL stadiums in their luxury boxes, while their majority-Black workforce put their bodies on the line every Sunday, taking vicious hits and suffering debilitating injuries to their bodies and their brains while the NFL and its owners reap billions of dollars,” the lawsuit stated.
Flores played at Boston College before moving into personnel roles with the New England Patriots for four years, the Steelers said. He then went on to coach various positions for New England over 11 seasons.
Flores has said his lawsuit would continue even if he found another coaching job, according to The Associated Press.
©2022 Cox Media Group