Former Dolphins Coach Brian Flores Sues NFL and Teams Alleging Racial Discrimination
The suit states that NFL is “is racially segregated and is managed much like a plantation” and “remains rife with racism, particularly when it comes to the hiring and retention of Black Head Coaches, Coordinators and General Managers.”
Accusations of Racist Practices in NFL
Former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores, who was fired last month, filed a lawsuit against the National Football League and its teams Tuesday alleging racial discrimination, particularly in hiring practices.
The suit, which is seeking class-action status and unspecified damages, specifically names the NFL, the New York Giants, the Denver Broncos, and the Dolphins as plaintiffs. It lists the other 29 teams in the league as “John Doe’s.”
Flores claimed that “the NFL remains rife with racism, particularly when it comes to the hiring and retention of Black Head Coaches, Coordinators and General Managers.”
The suit said that over the years, the NFL and its teams “have been given every chance to do the right thing. Rules have been implemented, promises made—but nothing has changed. In fact, the racial discrimination has only been made worse by the NFL’s disingenuous commitment to social equity.”
“In certain critical ways, the NFL is racially segregated and is managed much like a plantation,” the suit continued. “Its 32 owners—none of whom are Black—profit substantially from the labor of NFL players, 70% of whom are Black. The owners watch the games from atop NFL stadiums in their luxury boxes, while their majority-Black workforce put their bodies on the line every Sunday, taking vicious hits and suffering debilitating injuries to their bodies and their brains while the NFL and its owners reap billions of dollars.”
The filing noted that with the recent firings of Flores and Houston Texans coach David Culley, there is now just one Black head coach in the league. In the rare cases where Black head coaches are hired, the suit says that they are “discriminated against in connection with the terms and conditions of their employment and compensation and terminated even as far less successful white Head Coaches are retained.”
“Sham” Interviews and Game Fixing Claims
Specifically, the filing states that Flores was fired from the Dolphins despite leading the team to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2003.
According to the suit, Flores refused a “directive” from Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to intentionally lose games so the team could get the top pick in the draft. Ross allegedly offered to pay Flores $100,000 for every loss in his first season as coach.
It goes on to accuse Ross of repeatedly pressuring Flores to recruit “a prominent quarterback in violation of League tampering rules,” and when Flores refused he was “treated with disdain” and “ostracized” until he was ultimately fired. After his removal, he was defamed in the media and NFL as someone who was hard to work with and cast as an “angry Black man.”
Following his ouster, Flores was up for the head coach position with the New York Giants, but he claims management subjected him to “a sham interview” process so they would be in compliance with the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview minority candidates for vacant senior positions.
Flores asserts that just hours after setting up his interview, he learned in texts from New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick that the Giants had filled the slot with Brian Daboll, the white offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills.
In the messages, Belichick appeared to congratulate Flores for landing the job, which he had not interviewed for yet. When Flores asked Belichick if he had meant to send the message to Daboll, who had interviewed before him, Belichick apologized and said he had messed up.
“I double checked and misread the text,” he wrote. “I think they are naming Brian Daboll.”
After learning of Dabolls selection, Flores says he was still “forced to sit through a dinner” with the Giant’s general manager and “give an extensive interview for a job that he already knew he would not get […] for no reason other than for the Giants to demonstrate falsely […] that it was in compliance with the Rooney Rule.”
Notably, Flores claimed in the suit that this was not the only “sham” interview he was put through. He also had an interview with the Denver Broncos in 2019, during which he alleged that the teams’ executives showed up an hour late and “looked completely disheveled,” making it “obvious that they had drinking heavily the night before.”
“It was clear from the substance of the interview that Mr. Flores was interviewed only because of the Rooney Rule, and that the Broncos never had any intention to consider him as a legitimate candidate for the job,” the suit said.
Response From Plaintiffs
The plaintiffs named in the suit have responded broadly by denying the allegations.
In a statement Tuesday, the NFL said the claims are “without merit.”
“The NFL and our clubs are deeply committed to ensuring equitable employment practices and continue to make progress in providing equitable opportunities throughout our organizations. Diversity is core to everything we do, and there are few issues on which our clubs and our internal leadership team spend more time,” the organization added.
The Dolphins also said they “vehemently deny any allegations of racial discrimination and are proud of the diversity and inclusion throughout our organization.”
“The implication that we acted in a manner inconsistent with the integrity of the game is incorrect,” the Miami team continued.
The Broncos called the allegations “blatantly false,” while the Giants defended their selection of Daboll and claimed that “Flores was in the conversation to be our head coach until the eleventh hour.”
See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (The Associated Press) (NPR)
Survey and Census Data Shows Record Number of Americans are Struggling Financially
Americans are choosing not to pursue medical treatment more and more frequently as they encounter money troubles.
A recent federal survey shows that a record number of Americans were worse off financially in 2022 than a year prior.
Coupled with recent census data showing pervasive poverty across much of the country, Americans are forced to make difficult decisions, like foregoing expensive healthcare.
According to a recent Federal Reserve Bureau survey, 35% of adults say they were worse off in 2022 than 2021, which is the highest share ever recorded since the question was raised in 2014.
Additionally, half of adults reported their budget was majorly affected by rising prices across the country, and that number is even higher among minority communities and parents living with their children.
According to recent census data, more than 10% of the counties in the U.S. are experiencing persistent poverty, meaning the area has had a poverty rate of 20% or higher between 1989 and 2019.
16 states report at least 10% of their population living in persistent poverty. But most of the suffering counties were found in the South — which accounts for over half the people living in persistent poverty, despite making up less than 40% of the population.
These financial realities have placed many Americans in the unfortunate situation of choosing between medical treatment and survival. The Federal Reserve study found that the share of Americans who skipped medical treatment because of the cost has drastically increased since 2020.
The reflection of this can be found in the overall health of households in different income brackets. 75% of households with an income of $25,000 or less report being in good health – compared to the 91% of households with $100,000 or more income.
See what others are saying: (Axios) (The Hill) (Federal Reserve)
Montana Governor Signs TikTok Ban
The ban will likely face legal challenges before it is officially enacted next year.
First Statewide Ban of TikTok
Montana became the first state to ban TikTok on Wednesday after Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) signed legislation aimed at protecting “Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party.”
The ban will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024, though the law will likely face a handful of legal challenges before that date.
Under the law, citizens of the state will not be held liable for using the app, but companies that offer the app on their platforms, like Apple and Google, will face a $10,000 fine per day of violations. TikTok would also be subject to the hefty daily fine.
Questions remain about how tech companies will practically enforce this law. During a hearing earlier this year, a representative from TechNet said that these platforms don’t have the ability to “geofence” apps by state.
Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics, told the Associated Press that app stores could have the capability to enforce the restriction, but it would be difficult to carry out and there would be a variety of loopholes by tools like VPNs.
Montana’s law comes as U.S. politicians have taken aim at TikTok over its alleged ties to the CCP. Earlier this year, the White House directed federal agencies to remove TikTok from government devices. Conservatives, in particular, have been increasingly working to restrict the app.
“The Chinese Communist Party using TikTok to spy on Americans, violate their privacy, and collect their personal, private, and sensitive information is well-documented,” Gov. Gianforte said in a Wednesday statement.
Criticism of Montana Law
TikTok, however, has repeatedly denied that it gives user data to the government. The company released a statement claiming Montana’s law “infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people” in the state.
“We want to reassure Montanans that they can continue using TikTok to express themselves, earn a living, and find community as we continue working to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana,” the company said.
The American Civil Liberties Union condemned Montana’s law for similar reasons.
“This law tramples on our free speech rights under the guise of national security and lays the groundwork for excessive government control over the internet,” the ACLU tweeted. “Elected officials do not have the right to selectively censor entire social media apps based on their country of origin.”
Per the AP, there are 200,000 TikTok users in Montana, and another 6,000 businesses use the platform as well. Lawsuits are expected to be filed against the law in the near future.
See what others are saying: (Associated Press) (Fast Company) (CBS News)
How a Disney-Loving Former Youth Pastor Landed on The FBI’s “Most Wanted” List
“Do what is best, not for yourself, for once. Think about everyone else,” Chris Burns’ 19-year-old son pleaded to his father via The Daily Beast.
Multi-Million Dollar Scheme
Former youth pastor turned financial advisor Chris Burns remains at large since going on the run in September of 2020 to avoid a Securities Exchange Commission investigation into his businesses.
Despite his fugitive status, the Justice Department recently indicted Burns with several more charges on top of the $12 million default judgment he received from the SEC.
Burns allegedly sold false promissory notes to investors across Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida. The SEC claims he told the investors they were participating in a “peer to peer” lending program where businesses that needed capital would borrow money and then repay it with interest as high as 20%. Burns allegedly also reassured investors that the businesses had collateral so the investment was low-risk.
The SEC says that Burns instead took that money for personal use.
Burns began his adult life as a youth pastor back in 2007 before transitioning into financial planning a few years later. By 2017, he launched his own radio show, The Chris Burns Show, which was funded by one of his companies, Dynamic Money – where every week Burns would “unpack how this week’s headlines practically impact your life, wallet, and future,” according to the description. He also frequently appeared on television and online, talking about finances and politics.
The SEC alleges that he used his public appearances to elevate his status as a financial advisor and maximize his reach to investors.
His family told The Daily Beast that he became obsessed with success and he reportedly bought hand-made clothes, a million-dollar lakehouse, a boat, several cars, and took his family on several trips to Disney World. His eldest son and wife said that Burns was paying thousands of dollars a day for VIP tours and once paid for the neighbors to come along.
Then in September 2020, he reportedly told his wife that he was being investigated by the Securities Exchange Commission but he told her not to worry.
The day that he was supposed to turn over his business documents to the SEC, he disappeared, telling his wife he was just going to take a trip to North Carolina to tell his parents about the investigation. Then, the car was found abandoned in a parking lot with several cashier’s checks totaling $78,000
FBI’s Most Wanted
The default judgment in the SEC complaint orders Burns, if he’s ever found, to pay $12 million to his victims, as well as over $650,000 in a civil penalty. Additionally, a federal criminal complaint charged him with mail fraud. Burns is currently on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.
Last week, the Justice Department indicted him on several other charges including 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud.
“Burns is charged for allegedly stealing millions of dollars from clients in an illegal investment fraud scheme,” Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “Financial crimes of this nature can cause significant disruptions to the lives of those who are victimized, and the FBI is dedicated to holding these criminals accountable.”
His family maintains that they knew nothing of Burns’ schemes. His wife reportedly returned over $300,000 that he had given to her.
She and their eldest son, who is now 19, told The Daily Beast they just want Burns to turn himself in, take responsibility for his actions, and try to help the people he hurt.
“Do what is best, not for yourself, for once. Think about everyone else,” Burns’ son said in a message to his father via The Daily Beast.