KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) – Four days after former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL and all 32 teams, Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the lawsuit and racism in the league.
In a memo to teams Saturday, Goodell acknowledged the league’s diversity programs and policies have changed the NFL, but haven’t done enough to ensure equality.
“We must acknowledge that particularly with respect to head coaches the results have been
unacceptable,” Goodell said in the memo.
In the lawsuit, Flores claims he was subjected to racism by at least three different NFL teams when they didn’t hire him as a coach.
While Flores is the main focus of the lawsuit, other Black coaches in the NFL who have allegedly been denied head coaching opportunities because of their race are mentioned.
One name that is mentioned in the lawsuit paperwork is Chiefs’ offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
In Saturday’s memo, Goodell said “racism and any form of discrimination” goes against the values of the NFL.
To address the issue, Goodell said the NFL will hire independent experts to evaluate the league’s diversity policies and programs, as well as any gender bias. Goodell said the league will also get input from current and former players and coaches.
“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.” Goodell said in the memo.
The NFL is currently reviewing claims relating to the integrity of NFL games, something that is also mentioned in Flores’ lawsuit.
Flores claims that in 2019, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered to pay him $100,000 a game to intentionally lose in order to improve the team’s draft position.
Goodell’s memo on Saturday said he expected owners, coaches, and players to fully cooperate with the investigation into that claim.
“There is much work to do, and we will embrace this moment and seize the opportunity to become a stronger, more inclusive league,” Goodell said.