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Brian Flores' Lawsuit Accuses Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross Of Paying Coach $100,000 For Every Loss In Effort To Tank For Better Draft Pick

BOSTON (CBS) -- Brian Flores filed a significant lawsuit against the NFL on Tuesday. While the primary focus is on the Giants allegedly deciding to hire Brian Daboll as head coach before ever interviewing Flores for the job, it also lobbed some serious accusations at the Dolphins -- the team that fired Flores last month.

Among the accusations, Flores said that team owner Stephen Ross offered to pay him an extra $100,000 for every game lost in 2019, in an effort to tank for a better draft pick.

"[Flores] refused his owner's directive to 'tank' for the first pick in the draft," the lawsuit alleged. "Indeed, during the 2019 season, Miami's owner, Stephen Ross, told Mr. Flores that he would pay him $100,000 for every loss, and the team's General Manager, Chris Grier, told Mr. Flores that 'Steve' was 'mad' that Mr. Flores' success in winning games that year was 'compromising [the team's] draft position.'"

That season saw the Dolphins trade away trading away quarterback Ryan Tannehill, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Kenyan Drake and Laremy Tunsil.

With a weak roster, the team started the year 0-7. But Flores led the team to a 5-4 record over the final nine weeks of the season. Around the NFL, that was seen as a triumph. Flores' lawsuit paints a different picture within the Dolphins organization.

The Dolphins ended up with the fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft, where they selected Tua Tagovailoa. Quarterback Joe Burrow was taken first overall by the Bengals, who had gone 2-14 in the 2019 season.

The lawsuit also accuses Ross of pressuring Flores to violate the NFL's tampering rules to recruit a "prominent quarterback" after the 2019 season. Tom Brady was a "prominent quarterback" whose contract was set to void in March after the 2019 season, and Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post reported Brady was the player Ross wasn't Flores to illegally recruit.

Flores' lawsuit alleges that after his initial refusal, Ross set up a not-so-coincidental run-in with the aforementioned quarterback. From the suit:

After the end of the 2019 season, Mr. Ross began to pressure Mr. Flores to recruit a prominent quarterback in violation of League tampering rules. Mr. Flores repeatedly refused to comply with these improper directives. Undeterred, in the winter of 2020, Mr. Ross invited Mr. Flores onto a yacht for lunch. Shortly after he arrived, Mr. Ross told Mr. Flores that the prominent quarterback was "conveniently" arriving at the marina. Obviously, Mr. Ross had attempted to "set up" a purportedly impromptu meeting between Mr. Flores and the prominent quarterback. Mr. Flores refused the meeting and left the yacht immediately. After the incident, Mr. Flores was treated with disdain and held out as someone who was noncompliant and difficult to work with

From that point forward, Mr. Flores was ostracized and ultimately he was fired. He was subsequently defamed throughout the media and the League as he was labeled by the Dolphins brass as someone who was difficult to work with. This is reflective of an all too familiar "angry black man" stigma that is often casted upon Black men who are strong in their morals and convictions while white men are coined as passionate for those very same attributes.

Obviously, such accusations are extremely serious. The NFL released a statement saying Flores' claims are "without merit."


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