NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement Saturday calling the results of the league’s efforts at improving diversity in the coaching ranks “unacceptable.”
“Racism and any form of discrimination is contrary to the NFL’s values,” Goodell said. “We have made significant efforts to promote diversity and adopted numerous policies and programs which have produced positive change in many areas, however we must acknowledge that particularly with respect to head coaches the results have been unacceptable.”
Goodell added that the league will take a look at their current diversity initiatives in an attempt to do better.
“We will reevaluate and examine all policies, guidelines and initiatives relating to diversity, equity and inclusions.”
Goodell’s statement comes in the aftermath of former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores’ lawsuit accusing the NFL and three of its franchises of racist hiring practices this past week.
“While the legal process moves forward, we will not wait to reassess and modify our strategies to ensure that they are consistent with our values and longstanding commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” Goodell said. “In particular, we recognize the need to understand the lived experiences of diverse members of the NFL family to ensure that everyone has access to opportunity and is treated with respect and dignity.”
Flores’ attorneys responded to Goodell’s release labeling it a public relations stunt in a statement of their own.
“The statement made today by the Commissioner is, on the surface, a positive first step, but we suspect that this is more of a public relations ploy than real commitment to change,” Flores’ attorneys Douglas H. Wigdor and John Elefterakis said in a statement. “For too many years, the NFL has hid behind the cover of foundations that were supposed to protect the rights of Black players and coaches, all while letting systemic racial bias fester in its front offices. The NFL is now rolling out the same playbook yet again and that is precisely why this lawsuit was filed. We would be pleased to talk to the Commissioner about real change, but unfortunately he has not reached out to us to engage in such a discussion. In fact, nobody from the NFL has reached out to us. Absent such a discussion followed by unbiased and concrete change, we believe that a court or governmental agency must order a federal monitor to oversee the NFL as the NFL cannot continue to police itself.”
Goodell added investigation will begin to explore Flores’ claims that pertain to the integrity of the game.
The former Dolphins coach also alleged that Miami owner Stephen Ross offered him $100,000 per loss during the 2019 season in an attempt to gain a better draft position. Ross has denied the allegations.
“We also take seriously any issue relating to the integrity of NFL games,” Goodell said. “These matters will be reviewed thoroughly and independently. We expect that these independent experts will receive full cooperation from everyone associated with the league or any member club as this work proceeds.”