A U.S. District court judge in New York has ruled that the National Football League(NFL) and three of its teams must respond to allegations of racist hiring practices by Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores in open court, Reuters reports.
According to U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni, the NFL, the Denver Broncos, the New York Giants, and the Houston Texans must respond to allegations of systematic discrimination against Black coaches in the league made by Flores. Previously, Flores served as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
The lawsuit is meant to compel the NFL to institute several changes, encourage teams to hire Black coaches and general managers and mandates that they provide written explanations for their hiring and firing decisions.
Flores’ retaliation claim against the Dolphins, as well as claims by two other coaches who joined Flores in the suit, were sent to private arbitration by Caproni.
According to Reuters, Douglas Wigdor, the attorney for Flores, expressed that he was pleased that his client’s claims of “systematic discrimination” by the NFL would go before a jury but was disappointed that other aspects of the case will now be arbitrated by the NFL internally.
“We look forward to pursuing all these claims to trial in their various forums,” Wigdor added.
The NFL has denied accusations of racial discrimination and maintained that its committed to diversity and fair hiring procedures.
After being fired as the head coach of the Dolphins in February 2022, Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFL and its 32 teams, alleging systemic discrimination against Black candidates for senior coaching and management positions.
The league has argued that the case should be dismissed because the claims are without merit or should be sent to arbitration per the coaches’ employment contracts.