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NFL commissioner says league's record of hiring minority coaches has been "unacceptable"

Brian Flores on his lawsuit against NFL
Former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores on his lawsuit alleging race discrimination at NFL 13:03

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Saturday sent a memo to teams saying the league will look to improve its "efforts to promote diversity," saying that the track record for hiring minority coaches thus far has been "unacceptable." Goodell also announced an independent investigation into allegations of tanking brought up in former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores' lawsuit against the league and three teams.

"We will reevaluate and examine all policies, guidelines and initiatives relating to diversity, equity and inclusion, including as they relate to gender," Goodell's memo read. "We are retaining outside experts to assist in this review and will also solicit input from current and former players and coaches, advocates and other authorities in this area."

The memo comes four days after Flores, who is Black, filed a class action lawsuit against the NFL, Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos and New York Giants alleging racist hiring practices throughout the league.

"We didn't have to file a lawsuit for the world to know that there's a problem from a hiring standpoint in regards to minority coaches in the National Football League. The numbers speak for themselves," Flores told "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday. "We filed the lawsuit so that we could create some change. And that's important to me. I think we are at a fork in the road. We are either going to keep it the way it is or go in another direction and actually make some real change in where we are actually changing the hearts and minds of those who make decisions to hire head coaches, executives, etc."   

Indianapolis Colts v Miami Dolphins
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 03: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks with Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross before the game against the Indianapolis Colts and the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on October 03, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. / Getty Images

Flores was fired by the Dolphins at the end of the 2021 regular season, despite leading the team to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2003 and having two years left on his contract. Flores was scheduled to interview for the vacant Giants coaching job but, according to the lawsuit, the team had already selected Brian Daboll to fill the role before speaking with Flores.

The lawsuit said this was typical of how teams in the NFL abuse the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching jobs and various other positions throughout the league.

"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," Flores' attorneys said Saturday in a statement. 

Goodell also announced Saturday that there will be an independent investigation into claims "relating to the integrity of NFL games."

Flores claims in his lawsuit that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered to pay him $100,000 for every game the team lost during the coach's first season in an effort to improve its draft position. 

Ross on Thursday called the allegations "false, malicious and defamatory," adding that the team would cooperate with any investigation into Flores' claims of tanking.

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