In his original complaint, former Dolphins coach Brian Flores alleged that he’d been offered $100,000 per loss in 2019 by owner Stephen Ross. However, the complaint contained no specific legal claim tied to that contention.
The amended complaint does.
Flores’s amended lawsuit, filed on Thursday, includes a claim for retaliation under the Florida Private Whistleblower Statute. He contends that his employment was terminated because he refused to intentionally lose football games “in violation of the Sports Bribery Act, among other laws.”
Because Flores claims he was a whistleblower, an obvious question arises. Did Flores actually blow the whistle before he was fired? Consider this, from paragraph 166 of the amended complaint: “Mr. Flores memorialized Mr. Ross’ desire to have Miami lose games in a December 4, 2019 memorandum that was provided to General Manager, Chris Grier; Chief Executive Officer, Tom Garfinkel; and Senior Vice President of Football and Business Administration, Brandon Shore. In this letter, Mr. Flores detailed the toxicity that existed within the organization and explained the unreasonable position he was being placed in by the team ownership and upper management.”
That’s a hugely significant allegation. Flores says he reduced his concerns to writing and distributed them to several key employees of the team. Immediate questions include whether they did anything about it. Did they investigate? Did they alert the league? Did the NFL receive a copy of the memo? Did the league investigate? Did the Dolphins or the league resolve the claim by finding it had merit, or by finding it was baseless? Did the team or the NFL simply ignore it?
These are questions that will be developed in the litigation. If, that is, the NFL isn’t permitted to move the case to private arbitration, where the case would play out in secret and the dirty laundry would never be aired publicly.
The amended complaint also alleges that the Dolphins retaliated against Flores by failing to make severance payments to Flores — and by allegedly “seeking to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars” of earned income based on his decision to file a lawsuit and to not pursue his claims in secret arbitration.