More than twelve and a half months since Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores filed a landmark racial discrimination lawsuit against the league, the litigation remains stuck at square one.
The NFL wants the claims of all three plaintiffs (Flores, Steve Wilks, and Ray Horton) to be resolved in arbitration ultimately controlled by Commissioner Roger Goodell. The coaches want the cases to stay in court.
On Thursday, the lawyers representing the coaches filed paperwork on a very specific and esoteric question.
PFT has reviewed the six-page submission. It arises from the question of whether the Commissioner’s authority includes the threshold question of deciding whether the claims made by Wilks should be resolved in arbitration or in court.
As we understand it, only the contract between Wilks and the Cardinals includes specific language delegating to Goodell the power to determine whether the claims should be sent to arbitration or to court. The lawyers representing the coaches argue that the NFL and the Cardinals have waived the argument by not raising it previously.
In fact, the NFL and the Cardinals didn’t raise it at all. The presiding judge noticed it, and the presiding judge asked the parties to submit paperwork explaining their positions on the issue.
The broader question is whether Goodell has a clear and obvious bias that prevents him from fairly administering justice when it involves the various teams that have hired him and that continue to pay him many millions per year.
OF COURSE the bias is clear and obvious. It’s amazing it has taken this long for someone to fight the bias so aggressively in court, and it’s even more amazing that the media and fans aren’t collectively shouting down any effort by the NFL to suggest that Goodell is capable of being completely fair and neutral.
He can’t be. He shouldn’t want to try to be. The only logical conclusion is that he and those who pay him desperately want the deck to be stacked in their favor.
Indeed, if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be fighting so damn hard to make it that way.
At some point, hopefully sooner than later, the judge will make a decision. Our guess is that it will be a mixed bag, with some of the claims pending against the NFL and the Broncos, Texans, Dolphins, Titans, Cardinals, and Giants sent to arbitration and some remaining in court.