DENVER — The Denver Broncos were included in an explosive class action lawsuit filed by coach Brian Flores who alleges racial hiring injustices. Flores and his attorneys filed a 58-page complaint Tuesday against the NFL, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos and "John Doe Teams 1-29" in United States District Court Southern District of New York.
Flores said in a statement Tuesday, "God has gifted me with a special talent to coach the game of football, but the need for change is bigger than my personal goals. In making the decision to file the class action complaint, I understand that I may be risking coaching the game I love."
The motivation behind Flores' interview appears to be he was that he was passed over this week for Brian Daboll as head coach of the New York Giants -- which Flores learned about three days earlier in a text from his former New England head coach Bill Belichick.
Point 21 in the complaint refers to the Broncos' head coaching interview with Flores, then a defensive coach with the New England Patriots, in 2019.
"Incredibly, this (Giants) was not Mr. Flores’ first sham interview that was held only in an effort to comply with the Rooney Rule. Indeed, in 2019 Mr. Flores was scheduled to interview with the Denver Broncos. However, the Broncos’ then-GM, John Elway, President and CEO Joe Ellis and others, showed up an hour late to the interview.
"They looked completely disheveled and it was obvious that they had been drinking heavily the night before. It was clear from the substance of the interview that Mr. Flores was interviewed only because of the Rooney Rule, and the Broncos never had any intention to consider him as a legitimate candidate for the job. Shortly thereafter, Vic Fangio, a white man, was hired to be the Head Coach of the Broncos."
The Rooney Rule requires all NFL teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching jobs.
Flores complaint follows with point 22: "Having discovered what the Giants and rest of NFL had hoped to keep in the dark, Mr. Flores now brings this Class Action Complaint to shine a light on racial injustices that take place inside the NFL and to effect real change for the future."
The Broncos denied Flores' claims, beginning with the fact the early-morning meeting started on time.
“The allegations from Brian Flores directed toward the Denver Broncos in today’s court filing are blatantly false.
“Our interview with Mr. Flores regarding our head coaching position began promptly at the scheduled time of 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 5, 2019, in a Providence, R.I., hotel. There were five Broncos executives present for the interview, which lasted approximately three-and-a-half hours—the fully allotted time—and concluded shortly before 11 a.m.
“Pages of detailed notes, analysis and evaluations were taken from our interview that demonstrate the depth of our conversation and sincere interest in Mr. Flores as a head coaching candidate.
“Our process was thorough and fair to determine the most qualified candidate for our head coaching position. The Broncos will vigorously defend the integrity and values of our organization—and its employees—from such baseless and disparaging claims.”
A source said the Broncos' head coach search committee landed in Providence. R.I. in the middle of night and arrived at their hotel at 2:30 a.m. Joe Ellis was in Boston attending to a personal matter and started his drive to Providence at 6 a.m. All Broncos parties were present when the interview with Flores began at 7:30 a.m. per the source.
In the lawsuit, Flores is demanding a trial by jury.
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