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Steelers Coach Brian Flores, Attorney Reject Arbitration in NFL Racial Bias Suit

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Steelers Assistant Brian Flores

The attorney for Pittsburgh Steelers senior defensive assistant Brian Flores has rejected an apparent offer of arbitration in his suit against the NFL and others, he said in a letter released publicly on Wednesday.

Flores is suing the NFL, alleging racial prejudice in hiring practices, among other issues. The suit was filed before he was hired by the Steelers, following his firing as Miami Dolphins head coach earlier this year.

Attorney Douglas Wigdor said the goal of the suit is to bring to light the racial imbalance in the NFL’s practices, and that cannot happen if the case is resolved through a private settlement.

“A fair and just adjudication of Mr. Flores’ claims is impossible without transparency,” Wigdor wrote. “Accountability requires transparency. NFL coaches (and candidates), players and the public at large deserve that transparency. Arbitration is not transparent.”

Flores also released a statement echoing that of his attorney, who made his plea directly to NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell, who could keep the Dolphins from seeking arbitration.

“The claims that we filed involve important issues of systemic race discrimination and the integrity of NFL football games,” Flores said. “Unfortunately, the Dolphins and their attorneys, Quinn Emanuel and Paul Weiss, are trying to push the claims against the Dolphins into secret arbitration proceedings that lack transparency. …

“Commissioner Goodell now has a choice to make. Will he allow this case and future race discrimination claims to play out in a transparent and public legal process, or continue along the same unacceptable path.”

The Steelers have largely refrained from commenting on Flores’ legal battle with the league, with general manager Kevin Colbert saying last week at the 2022 NFL Combine in Indianapolis that the Steelers were simply excited about adding a strong defensive mind.

The rest of the assembled coaches and general managers generally gave support to Flores’ cause and acknowledged the racial imbalance that has left the NFL with five minority head coaches, including Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

Brian Flores Receives Support, Coaches Call for Change at NFL Combine: ‘He Should Be a Head Coach’

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