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Two more coaches join Brian Flores in our class action race discrimination lawsuit against the NFL. On April 7th,we filed an amended complaint, adding Coaches Ray Horton and Steve Wilks.

Joint statement from Brian Flores’ co-counsel, John Elefterakis and Douglas H. Wigdor, regarding Coaches Steve Wilks and Ray Horton joining race the discrimination class action against the NFL and various teams: “It is an honor to represent three admired and successful coaches who, by becoming named plaintiffs in this race class action, have demonstrated great courage to stand up against the NFL. While the NFL may hire outside consultants, make minor rule changes, and pander to various interest groups, real and enduring change can only be accomplished through the appointment of a court ordered monitor as the NFL has demonstrated time and time again that it is incapable of policing itself.”

April 7, 2022

EEP Law and Wigdor Law, represent Brian Flores in connection with his race discrimination class action against the NFL and various teams.

Read the amended complaint here. Among other things, the amended complaint, which is 100 pages long, adds two new plaintiffs – Coaches Steve Wilks and Ray Horton.

As alleged in the amended complaint, in 2018 Mr. Wilks was discriminated against by the Arizona Cardinals in a manner consistent with the experiences of many Black coaches. Mr. Wilks was hired as a “bridge coach” and was not given any meaningful chance to succeed. He was unfairly and discriminatorily fired after just one season. His white GM, who made poor personnel decisions and was convicted for a DUI during the offseason, was given a contract extension. Mr. Wilks was replaced by a white coach, Kliff Kingsbury, who had no prior NFL coaching experience and was coming off multiple losing seasons as a Head Coach at Texas Tech. Mr. Kingsbury, armed with quarterback Kyler Murray, has been given a much longer leash than Mr. Wilks and, to his credit, has succeeded. That said, Mr. Wilks, given the same opportunity afforded to Mr.Kingsbury, surely would have succeeded as well. The allegations pertaining specifically to Mr. Wilks are located at ¶¶ 227-263 of the amended complaint.

Mr. Flores and Mr. Wilks are joined by Mr. Horton. Mr. Horton was a long time NFL coach and Defensive Coordinator when he was interviewed for the Tennessee Titans Head Coach position in January 2016. This turned out to be a completely sham interview done only to comply with the Rooney Rule and to demonstrate an appearance of equal opportunity and a false willingness to consider a minority candidate for the position. Indeed, the Titans’ all-white ownership and management ultimately hired Mike Mularkey, a white candidate, for the Head Coach position. Years later, in 2020, Mr. Mularkey admitted in a podcast interview that the Titans, “[T]old me I was going to be the head coach in 2016, before they went through the Rooney rule. And so I sat there knowing I was the head coach in 2016, as they went through this fake hiring process knowing, knowing a lot of the coaches that they were interviewing, knowing how much they prepared to go through those interviews, knowing that everything they could do and they had no chance to get that job.” The allegations pertaining specifically to Mr. Horton are located at ¶¶ 264-284 of the amended complaint. Listen to the podcast at 25:02.

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February 19, 2022

Joint statement from Brian Flores’ co-counsel, John Elefterakis and Douglas H. Wigdor, regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers naming Coach Flores senior defensive assistant/linebackers:

“We congratulate Coach Flores on his new position with the Steelers and thank Coach Tomlin and the organization for giving him this great opportunity. While Coach Flores is now focused on his new position, he will continue with his race discrimination class action so that real change can be made in the NFL.”

February 5, 2022

“Unfortunately, immediately after Coach Flores filed the class action lawsuit, the NFL and various teams reflexively, and without any investigation, denied the detailed allegations set forth in the 60 page complaint. As a result, when we spoke to the national media the following day we made clear that the NFL should view this class action lawsuit as an opportunity to engage in real change and confront the obvious reality. 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. For too many years, the NFL has hidden behind the cover of foundations that were supposed to protect the rights of Black players and coaches, as well as law firms and experts that purport to be unbiased and independent, but are paid for by the NFL. All the while, systemic racial bias has festered in the NFL’s 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.”

Joint statement by Brian Flores’ co-counsel:
John Elefterakis, of Elefterakis, Elefterakis & Panek and Douglas H. Wigdor, of Wigdor LLP

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

“On the first day of Black History Month, it is our great privilege to represent Brian Flores in his class action complaint against the NFL.

This case seeks to level the playing field in the hope that future owners and coaches will be representative of the athletes who are playing this great game. We fully expect coaches and players of all races to support Brian as he embarks on his journey to create positive change.”

Joint statement by Brian Flores’ co-counsel:
John Elefterakis, of Elefterakis, Elefterakis & Panek and Douglas H. Wigdor, of Wigdor LLP

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