NEW YORK (AP) — Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores can move forward with his lawsuit against the league and three other teams for alleged discrimination after a federal judge on Wednesday denied the option of an appeal to arbitration, presumably before the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell.
Judge Valerie Caproni has issued critical remarks in Manhattan on the state of racial bias in sports.
In his written decision, Caproni cleared the way for Flores to take his claims to court. Meanwhile, two other coaches who joined the lawsuit can go to arbitration.
The NFL had attempted to take Flores’ complaints to arbitration, citing contracts signed by the coaches.
Flores, black and Honduran-born, sued the league and three teams a year ago. He called the NFL “riddled with racism,” particularly in its practices of hiring and promoting black coaches.
Caproni wrote that the coaches’ descriptions of their experiences of racism in a league with “a long history of racial discrimination against black players, coaches and managers were incredibly concerning”.
The judge found it “difficult to understand” how there was only one black coach when Flores filed his lawsuit in a 32-team league where African-American players make up 70% of the roster.
Additionally, the judge determined that Flores could ask a jury to decide whether his discrimination claims, which target the league, Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Houston Texans, were true.
Instead, he will have to seek to have his claims against the Dolphins heard in arbitration.
“We are thrilled that Coach Flores’ class action lawsuits for systemic discrimination, filed against the NFL and various teams, will proceed to court and ultimately to a fellow judge,” attorney Douglas Wigdor said in an email. .
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