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Attorneys for Brian Flores said that he left millions of dollars on the table by declining to sign a two-year non-disparagement agreement presented by Miami Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross last month.
Flores and his attorneys, Doug Wigdor and John Elefterakis, were interviewed by Bryant Gumbel of HBO’s “Real Sports.” The episode will air Tuesday night.
“To Coach Flores’ credit, he wasn’t going to sign that, because… it wasn’t about the money,” Wigdor told Gumbel. “If it was about the money, he would have signed it. What he did instead was he filed this lawsuit so that he could help other coaches, now… and in the future.”
Instead of signing the NDA, Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFL and three teams in particular — the Dolphins, New York Giants and Denver Broncos — for racial discrimination in hiring practices. In Flores’ lawsuit, he alleges — among other claims — that Ross offered him a $100,000 bonus for each loss in an attempt to secure a top draft pick. Ross has denied those allegations.
“Just signing that separation agreement would have really silenced me,” Flores told Gumbel.
The Dolphins released a statement Tuesday evening calling Flores’ claim “categorically false.”
“This just did not happen and we simply cannot understand why Brian continues this pattern of making unfounded statements that he knows are untrue,” the statement said. “We are fully cooperating with the NFL investigation and look forward to all of the facts coming out which we are confident will prove that his claims are false and defamatory.”
Flores, 40, was fired by the Dolphins in January after a 9-8 season and third-place finish in the AFC East.
Wigdor added in the interview: “If a coach is terminated with a couple years or a year left on their contract, they don’t get paid unless they sign a waiver, an NDA, confidentiality and non-disparagement. So, they buy their silence.”
Flores also told Gumbel that he hasn’t spoken to Bill Belichick since the Patriots coach mistakenly sent Flores a congratulatory message on getting the Giants’ head coaching job. The message was sent before Flores interviewed for the job and was intended instead for Brian Daboll, who ended up getting the position. That text message exchange is at the crux of Flores’ lawsuit.
Earlier this week, Flores was hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers as a defensive assistant and linebackers coach earlier this week. Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin — one of the league’s two Black head coaches — said Flores’ resume “speaks for itself.”