Former Dolphins coach Brian Flores has taken the bold step of filing a racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL and three of its teams, the Dolphins, Broncos, and Giants. The head coach of the Washington Commanders appreciates what Flores has done.
“First of all, I think what Brian is doing is courageous and it really truly is bringing everything to the forefront and to the light,” Ron Rivera, one of the league’s five current minority coaches, told PFT Live on Friday. “I think it is important because the biggest problem in my opinion that minorities face is that people don’t know these guys. You have to get to know who they are to give them opportunities. I have a friend who’s in sales and he’s always told me, ‘You need three elements if you’re going to sell. People have to get to know you, people have to get to like you, and people have to get to trust you to buy from you.’”
So how does that happen for NFL owners?
“We’ve got to find ways to put people on the owners’ radars, the presidents’ radars, the G.M.s’ radars,” Rivera said. “Maybe it takes something like what Brian is doing to get people to focus in and realize this is serious, so let’s find avenues to do that. Well, to me, we have a Super Bowl, we have a Combine, and we have owners’ meetings. Those are three great opportunities to bring a crowd of people that people say, ‘Hey, these are the next ones. Let’s bring them in. Let’s get them to spend some time with the decision makers to help them that when now we get into the new cycle.’ It’s not all of a sudden, ‘Well, who’s this? . . . Well, yeah. I remember him. I got a chance to meet him. Let’s sit down, let’s talk.’ I think if we can educate them on these people that are available, it might help. We got to do something.”
He’s right. But it won’t be easy. Owners have to be persuaded to do the right thing without being forced to do the right thing. If they feel like they’re being forced, they’ll possibly be inclined to do the opposite, jut because they can.
The NFL definitely can, and should, expect better. It should expect more. More coaches and owners need to say what needs to be said. Maybe then what needs to be done will be done.