The NFL is on the offensive, when it comes to the claims made by Brian Flores.
Former Broncos G.M. and current Broncos personnel advisor John Elway has issued a statement in response to the allegations made about the team in the Flores lawsuit.
“While I was not planning to respond publicly to the false and defamatory claims by Brian Flores, I could not be silent any longer with my character, integrity and professionalism being attacked,” Elway said in a statement issued on Thursday. “I took Coach Flores very seriously as a candidate for our head coaching position in 2019 and enjoyed our three-and-a-half hour interview with him. Along with the rest of our group, I was prepared, ready and fully engaged during the entire interview as Brian shared his experience and vision for our team. . . . It’s unfortunate and shocking to learn for the first time this week that Brian felt differently about our interview with him.
“For Brian to make an assumption about my appearance and state of mind early that morning was subjective, hurtful and just plain wrong. If I appeared ‘disheveled,’ as he claimed, it was because we had flown in during the middle of the night — immediately following another interview in Denver — and were going on a few hours of sleep to meet the only window provided to us. . . . I interviewed Brian in good faith, giving him the same consideration and opportunity as every other candidate for our head coaching position in 2019.”
At paragraph 21 of the complaint, Flores made this allegation about his 2019 interview with the Broncos: “John Elway, President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Ellis and others, showed up an hour late to the interview. They looked completely disheveled, and it was obvious that they had [been] 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. Shortly thereafter, Vic Fangio, a white man, was hired to be the Head Coach of the Broncos.”
The presence of the word “defamatory” in Elway’s statement raises the question of whether Elway is considering suing Flores for defamation. The strong Wednesday night statement from Dolphins owner Stephen Ross created a similar perception.