Brian Flores pushes for transparency in lawsuit

Brian Flores is hoping to end forced arbitration in cases of racial discrimination.

Brian Flores is hoping to finish pressured arbitration in instances of racial discrimination.
Picture: Getty Pictures

On Monday, Brian Flores will communicate to the American Affiliation of Justice about repealing pressured arbitration in instances of racial discrimination. Pressured arbitration permits American corporations to keep away from the court docket system, as an alternative taking a lawsuit by way of a closed investigation that’s by no means heard by a jury and, by nature, the method lacks transparency.

Simply final month, Congress banned pressured arbitration in instances of sexual harassment and assault, and the Home is ready to contemplate the same invoice that may repeal pressured arbitration in racial discrimination instances like Flores’ — an arbitration that the Miami Dolphins have already requested the NFL to pursue, somewhat than permitting Flores’ class motion lawsuit to undergo the justice system.

The Dolphins aren’t the one group named within the lawsuit — executives from the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos are additionally being sued, together with the league itself. As PFT’s Mike Florio pointed out, the NFL has actually not shied away from utilizing (and abusing) pressured arbitration previously and has notoriously hidden or obscured the outcomes of their kangaroo court docket. Somewhat than hiring unbiased arbitrators, these instances are dealt with by the commish and his representatives, leading to shitstorms just like the one we’ve been watching come out of Washington this previous yr.

So is there any likelihood that the NFL rejects the Dolphins’ request for arbitration? Any likelihood they let this go to court docket? Perhaps I’m being too optimistic, however with the visibility of this case in addition to the NFL’s current report on racial points, I feel they could forgo arbitration with this.

In the event that they’re so assured that the lawsuit is “with out advantage,” as they’ve continued to insist, what’s the hurt in taking it to court docket for the league? They’ve greater than sufficient cash to pour right into a protection fund, and with the place the league’s PR picture is at this level, transparency is likely to be one of the best plan of action.

“If the NFL is actually dedicated to ‘ending racism,’ because it has repeatedly claimed, the league will reject Miami’s request for arbitration,” wrote Flores’ lawyer in a letter to Roger Goodell. “Race discrimination can’t be eradicated behind closed doorways and the integrity of the sport relies on transparency.”

Clearly, rejecting the arbitration request is the proper factor to do, and Flores’ case needs to be heard within the courts, however the NFL doesn’t all the time go off the “proper” factor to do (see, once more: WFT investigation). So I wish to take a look at this from the attitude of a league that, previously yr alone, has pushed sexual harassment allegations below the rug, allegedly leaked Jon Gruden’s racist emails, handled a star quarterback mendacity about his vaccination standing, and extra. It hasn’t precisely been a banner yr. What if this was the league’s likelihood to go to court docket, truly come clean with one thing, and take care of no matter penalties resulted from the proceedings?

America’s most seen group could even have the ability to rating some factors within the public eye by legitimately looking at their hiring practices and the discrimination that Flores has identified and making actual modifications. Not solely do they keep away from an inevitable repeat of this lawsuit that may undoubtedly be introduced up inside the subsequent decade or so if the league’s hiring practices don’t change, they will separate themselves from the so-called “dangerous apples” of the league (eg, Gruden).

After all, this argument doesn’t work if the “dangerous apples” aren’t, as Gruden claims, particular person outliers, however as an alternative scapegoated representatives of a bigger system whose views they mirror. However the NFL sending this case to pressured arbitration would primarily be an act of contrition, out of which no concrete, reputable change would come. They’ll examine, they’ll say that nobody within the historical past of the league has ever been racist and act shocked that anybody may accuse them of that, and Flores’ case will probably be buried. However nearly everybody will know that it’s a cover-up, a approach out of any precise accountability.

In a press release supplied by his lawyer, Flores wrote:

There are at present ongoing legislative efforts to finish pressured arbitration for claims of race discrimination, which I totally assist. I’d hope that the NFL and Dolphins would additionally assist these efforts. Commissioner Goodell now has a option to make. Will he permit this case and future race discrimination claims to play out in a clear and public authorized course of, or proceed alongside the identical unacceptable path?

He’s backing Goodell right into a nook right here — however the commish will, in the long run, do no matter is in one of the best curiosity of the house owners. Perhaps this time, although, their finest curiosity will truly align with doing the proper factor.

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