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The Brian Flores Issue: A Reasonable Assessment

The football world is all aflame that Brian Flores, onetime head coach of the Miami Dolphins who was recently let go, has brought a class-action suit for racial discrimination against the NFL for the way teams handled his applications/interviews for head coaching positions with other teams.

The Wikipedia rundown on the action is pretty good https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Flores:

“On February 1, 2022, Flores filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL, Dolphins, Broncos, and Giants organizations, alleging racial discrimination. The suit claims that text messages he received from New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, as well as media reports, show that the New York Giants decided to hire Brian Daboll as head coach before interviewing any minority candidates. The Giants, who scheduled an interview with Flores for January 27, had allegedly decided on Daboll by January 23.”



The sports talk shows are all zeroed in on the story. In the several I’ve seen, everyone sympathizes with Flores, black in appearance with Honduran parents. It’s easy to see why he gets sympathy. Flores comes across as a decent, honest man of integrity. He has ample experience and is well-qualified for a head coaching job. He is well-liked and respected in the league. Yet of nine head coach vacancies, five have already gone to white coaches and there is reason to believe shenanigans behind the scenes keep black coaches out of the head coach ranks. Mike Tomlin of the Steelers remains as the sole black head coach in the NFL.

The general thrust in the TV shows has been that racism accounts for Flores not getting a job offer and that the owners, still living in a bygone era, are responsible. Statistically, 75% of NFL players are black and the paucity of black head coaches is therefore patently unfair. Flores is taking a courageous stand that will probably cost him a future of any kind in the NFL. After Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, and others broke color barriers, the NFL owners remain a bastion of bad people vis-à-vis race.

Clearly the hint is that somebody oughta make those racist moh fohs hire black! Tony Kornheiser was the only one I’ve heard mention the other principle at stake: The owners have the right to hire whomever they want. Unpalatable as that may be, the owners pay everybody. It’s their millions that go into the overstuffed pockets of the stratospherically paid players on down to the taxi squad and the laundry guy. This reality has nothing to do with MLK. To force owners to hire someone against their will is to expropriate their ownership, and that would undermine the league.

Nor are other issues getting commensurate airtime. But for the billionaire owners there would be no NFL for anybody, black or white, coach or player, male or female. What would we all complain about when our quarterbacks and wideouts are no longer there to swear at? Besides, it’s not like Brian Flores is a working-class guy struggling to put food on the table. The man’s a millionaire. He could easily land a head coaching job at a major university where he could command big bucks and large headlines and represent black leadership among young athletes at impressionable ages.

Finally, the 75% black dominance in football players unavoidably presents the issue of whites not being represented at their 70% proportion of society. Or Asians at their percentage, or any other group. Why has this issue never come up? You can’t talk about fairness in terms of population ratios and not address it after using those very terms to imply that NFL head coaches should be 75% black.

I wish Brian Flores well. Were I an NFL owner, I’d give him a head coach job in a heartbeat. But not because he’s black, and that’s what Stephen A. Smith inevitably leaves us to think. The NFL “needs” more black head coaches, they say. Why? Because they’re black. No one suggests that the white men who got head coach jobs aren’t qualified, so the only possible reason can be skin color.

At least one of the talkers suggested that owners, like everyone else, prefer people they’re comfortable with. He’s right. Remember all those years everybody ached and griped for a black quarterback? Now we have them everywhere. They’re just as exciting as we always knew they’d be. It took owners time to get there but then the dam burst.

Affirmative action has already destroyed American education. Don’t let it destroy our greatest pastime.

By Jack Rail

Jack Rail is a retired Army officer who writes mostly when something gets his goat.

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Featured photo is a screengrab from YouTube.

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