John Elway responds to “false and defamatory claims” made by Brian Flores

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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.

87 responses to “John Elway responds to “false and defamatory claims” made by Brian Flores

  1. Ruh roh raggy….. Could it be they are calling Flores’ bluff? Not looking good for Flores, especially if Ross and Elway counter sue.

  2. Can anyone believe anybody about this mess? Only time will tell the answer. As a Dolphin fan from day one this is another sorry day in fish country> Bill

  3. Almost 60% of NFL players are black yet just 1 head coach and zero black NFL owners. The NFL can circle the PR wagons but that does not change the facts.

  4. If every member of the Broncos interview team has original notes in chronological order of every response (as claimed), Flores case will be weakened overall.

  5. At the time Vic Fangio was regarded as possibly the best def coach in the league. Hard to prove his hire was based on color unless you have emails etc proving otherwise.

  6. Flores is going to need some serious proof. I can’t believe his attorney allowed him to make a statement like that about Elway’s appearance and allegations about hi drinking. The big guns are lining up on Flores

  7. All speculation. I mean Flores’ argument holds no merit considering he was interviewing to replace Van Joseph who is black as the former broncos coach. Sounds like a bitter man who wants to go all scorched earth.

  8. They’re trying to scare Flores. He needs to be able to provide some evidence, even just testimony from others that Elway or others in the group appeared drunk, smelled drunk, etc.

  9. YIKES! Flores really opened a can of worms this time. Here’s the thing, should there be more black HC? Sure. But to go to court and prove RACISM is the reason you didn’t get the job? That’s a tough case to prove. Owners have favorites going into interviews all the time.

  10. People with long histories in this league have a right to defend themselves and fight back. Good for Elway.

  11. 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. . . .

    *******************
    Elway just admitted what Flores claims he saw was true, as he volunteers the reason he may have appeared disheveled. He further explains why to be based on travel & another interview. Begs the question, why the poor planning? You had to know before hand about the other interview and the travel involved. Sounds like the ‘dog ate my homework.’ Space it out so you’re not rushing in on short order.

    The drinking part was not addressed, but sounds like “boys night out” to me. Of course they drank the night before. How does Flores know that without being there? Could they have reeked of alcohol so much that anyone could tell or did they not shower & clean up prior? That what it sounds like. Maybe not.

    The part about being an hour late should be corroborated somewhere. I’m betting Flores made contemporaneous phone calls or texts to back him up. Stay tuned.

  12. All these people using “false and defamatory”… if that’s the case I wonder if any of these people will counter sue? My guess is nope, because even if not everything is 100% true they all know there is elements of truth to it all.

  13. Denver just had Vance Joseph as their head coach, so they have shown they are willing to hire a black head coach if they thought he would help them win. Miami Dolphins during Flores 3 years had a black head coach and a black GM. And the word is that the blank GM was the one who wanted Flores gone.

  14. qdog112 says:
    February 3, 2022 at 1:46 pm
    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. . . .

    *******************
    Elway just admitted what Flores claims he saw was true, as he volunteers the reason he may have appeared disheveled. He further explains why to be based on travel & another interview. Begs the question, why the poor planning?

    ———————-
    Disheveled from a long flight is different than being drunk, so Flores claim is backed up. The reason for the tight schedule was because a lot of these coaches were still coaching in the playoffs and the windows of opportunity to interview them are very small

  15. He further explains why to be based on travel & another interview. Begs the question, why the poor planning?

    It wasn’t poor planning, it was the ONLY window BF game them. Read closer next time, says it right there in Elways statement.

  16. Until he and the others make their statements in a court filing under the pains and penalties of perjury instead of a press release, I’ll go with Coach Flores on this. He put it on the line.

  17. Elway won’t sue, because then Flores’ attorneys will have sworn statements from the entire staff of the bar that Elway & his boys were in there getting drunk until 2 AM the night before the interview.

  18. Do ya think there are no PHOTOS? Some people are so dumb… Flores has photos and contemporaneous texts and phone calls.

    Ask yourself why Elway VOLUNTEERED that he may have appeared DISHEVELD? Elway admitted it & you guys insist Flores is lying. Read what Elway said.

  19. People, why the hell would Flores and Jackson lie? Ruining their careers in the process? The allegations especially against Browns and Dolphins of pay to lose, is damning. The GM’s for Jackson and Flores know the truth, they’d probably ask for a plea deal if the Feds move in on this….

  20. Is this the same Elway that backstabbed Tebow after winning a playoff game by promising him a future and then pursued Peyton Manning? Sorry but I believe Flores more than I believe Elway.

  21. Not very smart to intimate that Elway & others showed up to the meeting after drinking heavily the night before. I would look at a law suit for this also if I was them.

  22. Elway did himself a disservice with this statement. He says that all the allegations are false no truth to them at all. Then he says”but if I did appear that way here’s why”. “It’s the only time he gave us!!!!” Couple problems with that statement.

    1. You just admitted the accusations aren’t false. You admit that you didn’t show up in the best condition.

    2. You say that it was the “only time he gave you to meet”. You better damn well hope he doesn’t have texts, emails some sort of document offering more than one time.

    Good lawyers by nature are careful people. Most of them don’t make official claims without having receipts. Elway may of stepped in a hornets nest with that statement and doesn’t know it yet.

  23. Elway must have had to sober up for two days before making a statement! Where was his denial on day one? This is going to get real ugly for the NFL and the teams mentioned in the lawsuit, watch for Congress to hold hearings on this, and with “discovery” all phones, computers, and records will be subpoenaed by the committee.

  24. As Flores gets countersued, he will realize how dumb it was to let joke lawyers draw up a lawsuit in two days.

  25. Flores statement is based on opinion and drawing conclusions, assuming negative intent. Elway’s is based on facts. Plus they JUST had Vance Joseph as their head coach. Don’t tell me they don’t consider minorities

  26. I can’t back Flores on this charge. Because it’s pure supposition on his part. He doesn’t know what they were doing the night before. Just because he surmised (guessed) they had been drinking the night before doesn’t make it true.

  27. You folks are doing what the NFL did – saying there’s nothing to see here. On the basis of what? Have your read the lawsuit? Has the evidence been produced? Have we even gone through discovery to look at text messages and emails? Have witnesses been examined? How can you reach any conclusion off of press statements without going through that process?

  28. I’m confused on the part where being hungover makes you a racist. The Rooney Rule can force an interview, but it can’t force interest.

  29. For those that ask what the motivation for Flores is, how about $$. If John Elway was disheveled and already had his pick of who he wanted to hire and he still interviewed Flores, Elway was following the Rooney rule. I am failing to see the illegal part. Denver did what they are required to do. The reason the interview is required is because some people can show in an interview that they are the person for the job and blow the socks off a teams front office. For the Steelers Whizenhut was the clear favorite but Tomlin nailed the interview and got the job.

  30. Flores makes a lot of valid points in his argument, but I’m surprised his lawyers allowed him to include petty claims that include a supposition that the team’s front office was out drinking the night before.

  31. footballpat says:
    February 3, 2022 at 2:04 pm
    Until he and the others make their statements in a court filing under the pains and penalties of perjury instead of a press release, I’ll go with Coach Flores on this. He put it on the line.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________
    Of course you will, because when somebody makes an allegation this serious against someone in the land of social media, it has to true! He put it on the line and made an accusation! He is therefore guilty and must PROVE his innocence. Sorry, not in this country. You make the allegation, you better able to prove it!!

  32. I’m glad Elway fired back at this guy. Sometimes people dont get hired b/c there is a better candidate – plain and simple. Flores needs to get over his insecurities. Maybe a talk w/ Mike Tomlin would help.

  33. @tinye67. That’s where Elway made the mistake with this statement. He admits that he “may” of showed up not looking the best his reasoning was just different, and he “may” of been that way because Flores only gave them one time he could meet. So now Flores doesn’t have to prove they were out drinking all he has to do is prove that what Elway is saying true. If he can prove that he did give them more than one time that destroys Elway’s credibility and gives Flores credibility. This was a terrible statement by Elway. He probably doesn’t know it yet

  34. sully says:
    February 3, 2022 at 2:12 pm
    Not very smart to intimate that Elway & others showed up to the meeting after drinking heavily the night before. I would look at a law suit for this also if I was them.

    ————-

    That’s a nothing claim. If they were sober at the meeting it doesn’t matter what they were doing the night before. It’s their business. Flores was just using it to establish the point that they didn’t take the interview seriously.

  35. I could not be silent any longer with my character, integrity and professionalism being attacked. Lol the same guy who’s team cheated the salary cap for 2 years to load up and get him a ring ?

  36. Enough of this crap! What nobody wants to talk about is the FACT that the Rooney rule is not only outdated but is racist in of itself. No one should have an opportunity given or taken away due to the color of their skin. Hey here’s an idea. Why don’t people get opportunities based on merit? If I owned an NFL team I don’t care if my coaches were green with pink hair. If I believed that they gave me the best chance to win I would hire him/her right in the spot.I really don’t believe that NFL owners enjoy losing. Yes they all want to make money but who doesn’t?

  37. Please let’s not put Jackson and Flores in the same boat. Two completely different cases

  38. .
    Flores didn’t read his own Lawsuit.

    Some of the stuff in there is ridiculous.

    And then how do does one get around the fact he has a losing record as a Coach.

  39. Something to keep in mind. This is a civil lawsuit. The burden of proof is WAY different than in a criminal trial. Flores doesn’t have to prove that every accusation he makes is 100% true. Hr just has to get a jury yo believe it’s “more likely than not” that he’s telling more truth than the NFL. That should be pretty easy.

    He can prove or at least can strongly support his claim that the giants had made their decision days before interviewing him. If he had texts or emails offering Elway more than one time to meet that’s going to give him credibility on that point. As far as the tanking point all he needs a whinesses to back him up and it sounds like they are there.

    So to those saying “he can’t prove any of this” he doesn’t need to this is a civil trial. He has to be more credible than the NFL… that’s not going to be a high bar.

  40. Not all of what Flores alleged is true – and he’s going to pay the price for his scorched-earth campaign.

  41. Imo the NFL is going to make every attempt to settle this lawsuit as quietly as they possibly can.

    Stephen Ross and probably Jimmy Haslm will be the scapegoats the NFL doesn’t want to know if there is anything to these tanking charges and they sure as hell don’t want the feds potentially investigating. Elway will probably quietly exit whatever ownership group he is a part of trying to buy the broncos and they’ll try to offer Flores some kind of settlement

  42. @nunya it’s a civil lawsuit. It doesn’t have to be 100% true. If it’s 51% true Flores wins.

  43. Angel Valle says:
    February 3, 2022 at 2:49 pm
    I could not be silent any longer with my character, integrity and professionalism being attacked. Lol the same guy who’s team cheated the salary cap for 2 years to load up and get him a ring ?

    3 6 Rate This

    ———————

    3 years.

    1995, 1996, 1997

  44. Drinking before an interview is unprofessional and disrespectful … but is it illegal? What if the Broncos party before every interview ? My guess is they party before drafting quarterbacks but that is pure speculation.

  45. phinsfan66 says:
    February 3, 2022 at 2:31 pm
    footballpat says:
    February 3, 2022 at 2:04 pm
    Until he and the others make their statements in a court filing under the pains and penalties of perjury instead of a press release, I’ll go with Coach Flores on this. He put it on the line.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________
    Of course you will, because when somebody makes an allegation this serious against someone in the land of social media, it has to true! He put it on the line and made an accusation! He is therefore guilty and must PROVE his innocence. Sorry, not in this country. You make the allegation, you better able to prove it!!
    ————————-
    The allegation was not made on social media by Flores he made it in a court filing where he would be perjuring himself if he made it up. It’s Elway who’s responding in social media. If you feel it’s defamatory file suit or issue a response to Flores suit.

  46. ryans340 says: “He can prove or at least can strongly support his claim that the giants had made their decision days before interviewing him.”
    ——————-

    Vikings clearly targeted Harbaugh as their No.1 choice. Didn’t pan out and quicked pivoted to Kevin O’Donnell as the backup plan.

    Same with Giants – until Daboll agrees and signs the contract, they need to have Plan B ready to execute.

    You think Colts aren’t glad they already did their homework on Frank Reich even though Josh McDaniels agreed to join them?

  47. People need to stop thinking in therms of legal or illegal. This is a civil trial. Doesn’t matter if what happened is illegal

  48. Basically, Flores is calling out virtually everyone he has worked with or interviewed with as being “racists”.
    Miami admin detailed the issues surrounding Flores organizational relationship problems. It’s odd that few of his former NE players, Mia players or some of his many asst coaching staff are rallying to his defense.
    At some point it may be him and not them.

  49. It’s not that the Broncos are against hiring a minority coach, just THAT particular minority coach.

  50. All these people here saying Elway did himself a disservice cause obviously Flores has some great lawyer that wouldn’t have let all this out if there wasn’t proof, blah, blah, blah… Don’t you think that John Elway has access to some of the best lawyers on the planet that advised him on his statement??? I wouldn’t worry too much about Elway, he’s a smart man and will be just fine.

  51. Time for the NFL to countersue him into oblivion.

    You can’t just run around accusing everyone of racism because you don’t get what you want.

  52. Of all the allegations Flores made this was the most ridiculous. If Elway has such a problem with black defensive coaches then why did he hire Vance Joseph? Also Elway was with a team of executives who documented everything with the interview. Elway should sue.

  53. Why did Flores wait until now to blow the whistle? Why did he sit tight with this info until now? Was he okay with it as long as he was gainfully employed?

  54. Brian Flores in conference call w/Denver media prior to November 2020 Dolphins game vs.Broncos:

    “That interview was, I remember it vividly. It was just great for me to – just from doing my own background work – learn more about the Denver Broncos and their history and the Bowlen family and the great history that they have there as an organization. I was excited to interview with them. I thought it went well. It was just great to meet the executives there and spend some time with them.I think Vic’s a great coach. They’ve got the right coach and the right people in place. It’s a talented team, that’s for sure. It was a good experience for me personally.”

    This will be admissible in court…for what’s worth

  55. (sarcasm) I’m sure no interviewer has ever been late before, or not quite at their best from traveling all night.. This is the one and only time this has ever happened in the history of sports!

  56. Satisfy the Rooney rule? They just had a black coach in Vance Joseph so doesn’t that indicate rather strongly their willingness to hire one?!?

  57. This totally wrong. Elway only drinks to excess before the draft and then he picks, Bolles, Locke, Robly….. The list goes on which cause more drinking.

  58. blep77 says:
    February 3, 2022 at 3:18 pm
    Drinking before an interview is unprofessional and disrespectful … but is it illegal? What if the Broncos party before every interview ? My guess is they party before drafting quarterbacks but that is pure speculation.

    18 4 Rate This

    ———————

    No, but it proves intent that they had no real interest and Flores was being used.

  59. I mean technically Elway just has to prove he shows up looking disheveled after a night of drinking for interviews with white job candidates too. Maybe that’s how he rolls.

  60. Brian Flores is not alleging that he wasnt hired based on race, only that he got interviews because of his race.

    The rule is there to give person of color, and opportunity to interview. Really, he is just tearing the Rooney rule down.

  61. Showing up disheveled to an interview does not prove racist intent….regardless of the reason for being disheveled.

    End of story.

  62. bsizemore68 says:
    February 3, 2022 at 1:33 pm
    Can anyone believe anybody about this mess? Only time will tell the answer. As a Dolphin fan from day one this is another sorry day in fish country> Bill
    ====================================================
    They are actually mammals, not fish.

  63. touchback6 says:
    February 3, 2022 at 4:13 pm
    blep77 says:
    February 3, 2022 at 3:18 pm
    Drinking before an interview is unprofessional and disrespectful … but is it illegal? What if the Broncos party before every interview ? My guess is they party before drafting quarterbacks but that is pure speculation.

    18 4 Rate This

    ———————

    No, but it proves intent that they had no real interest and Flores was being used.

    ___________________________________________________

    Late night/early morning flight across the country and 3-1/2 hrs of interview time. Ya, they were not intersted in him at all.

  64. Remember last week everyone was accusing Brady of upstaging the super bowl with retirement plans? Flores said hold my beer, I’ve got a race card to play.

  65. I’m fine with Flores suing the NFL, and I’m fine with the inclusion of the Giants and Dolphins in it. With the Giants, the text messages from Belichek and Boomer Esaison’s comments seem to suggest something. With the Dolphins, there definitely seems to be some issues. Whether they are as serious as Flores claims, well, that’s for discovery, if it gets there. The NFL has issues, and an attempt by a young coach to attack it is probably the best way to get some attention on it, as the risk to Flores is greater than say, a Pep Hamilton or Hue Jackson, particularly since Flores has proven he can coach. I do wish that Flores had made the lawsuit about minority coaching in general.

    The Broncos aspect, though, just seemed like the weakest aspect of all this, and the fact that the Broncos came out so strong and quick about it, it does make me wonder. If his only argument is that they were disheveled, I’m not sure there’s enough there to have lumped the Broncos in there. He kept mentioning they were drunk, but he never indicated that he smelled alcohol or anything else. I understand it’s a throw everything against the wall move, but the Broncos aspect seemed the weakest.

  66. I like how everyone is overlooking the fact that denver had just recently hired a minority candidate in Vance Joseph. I have a hard time believing this part of this the Flores lawsuit.

  67. I think Flores’ suit has merit in that the NFL has (for many years) treated the Rooney Rule as an obstacle rather than a tool for improving diversity within the head coaching realm. I also think that no matter the actual outcome of the suit is, the NFL’s HC positions will be filled by many more non-white men. (I’m white for the record.)

    That said, Flores has gone WAY overboard with accusations that he simply cannot prove and are likely defaming to individuals such as Elway. Flores will never work again in the NFL not because he is black but because he went about this all wrong. It is this kind of action that spurs more hate and less working together. Had he gathered a team of like-minded individuals (of all colors/sexes) and approached the league with a plan to make change happen I think the result would have been much more positive for all.

  68. Flores is looking for a settlement similar to what Kaepernick got. That’s all this is about.

  69. Elway is the boss and doing the interview if he was out drinking and tired form traveling that is Elway’s problem not Flores concern. Elway was not driving so there is no problem.

  70. We have seen this before. There will be a massive investigation with Dolphins, Browns, Broncos and The Giants
    and then Mike McCarthy will be fired

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