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Bill Belichick’s texts to Brian Flores in center of discrimination lawsuit

Brian Flores was 4-2 as head coach of the Dolphins when facing Bill Belichick and the Patriots.Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Former Dolphins coach Brian Flores cited texts from Patriots coach Bill Belichick in a class action complaint filed against the NFL on Tuesday.

Flores, who was on the Patriots’ staff from 2004-18, included screenshots of texts from Belichick in which Belichick congratulated him on landing the Giants job even though Flores was yet to interview.

“Did you hear something I didn’t hear?” Flores asked.

Belichick wrote he had heard from both the Bills and the Giants that Flores was “their guy.”

“Hope it works out if you want it to!” Belichick texted.

Flores thanked Belichick and said he certainly wanted the job, before checking to make sure Belichick was talking to the right person. After a two-hour gap, Belichick answered.


“Sorry – I [expletive] this up,” Belichick texted. “I double checked & I misread the text. I think they are naming Daboll. I’m sorry about that. BB”

Flores thanked Belichick.

Flores then says he underwent an interview with the Giants, despite knowing the job was someone else’s.

“Mr. Flores had to give an extensive interview for a job that he already knew he would not get — an interview that was held for no reason other than for the Giants to demonstrate falsely to the League Commissioner Roger Goodell and the public at large that it was in compliance with the Rooney rule,” the filing reads.

The complaint takes the NFL to task over its ineffectual “Rooney Rule,” which mandates a certain number of interviews for head-coaching positions and front-office positions be given to candidates of color. Under the Rooney Rule, teams must interview at least two external minority candidates for head coaching positions and at least one external minority candidate for coordinator positions.

Flores noted that the NFL has itself said that the Rooney Rule still needs work.


Brian Flores made his bones as an assistant in New England under Bill Belichick before moving on to become head coach in Miami.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

“The Rooney Rule may have been well intentioned, although it is hard to attribute benevolence to the NFL given the complete lack of action that it has taken post-Rooney Rule to remedy discrimination that it admits exists,” the complaint reads. “However, well intentioned or not, what is clear is that the Rooney Rule is not working. It is not working because the numbers of Black Head Coaches, Coordinators and Quarterback Coaches are not even close to being reflective of the number of Black athletes on the field. The Rooney Rule is also not working because management is not doing the interviews in good-faith, and it therefore creates a stigma that interviews of Black candidates are only being done to comply with the Rooney Rule rather than in recognition of the talents that the Black candidates possess.”

Daboll, like Flores, began his career as a young man in the Patriots organization. He was introduced as the Giants’ head coach on Tuesday.

“Having discovered what the Giants and the rest of the NFL had hoped to keep in the dark, Mr. Flores now brings this Class Action Complaint to shine a light on the racial injustices that take place inside the NFL and to effectuate real change for the future,” the lawsuit stated.

Read the full lawsuit here.