Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, who is currently an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers, filed a lawsuit in February against the NFL and multiple teams for discrimination in their hiring practices. Photo courtesy of the Miami Dolphins
April 21 (UPI) -- The NFL intends to file a motion to move former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores' racial discrimination lawsuit to arbitration.
In a court filing Thursday, the league denied the discrimination claims and said it wants to shift the suit into arbitration, "or in the alternative, dismiss the amended complaint." The NFL noted that the allegations must face arbitration as part of the employment agreement with the league and its teams.
Flores' attorneys pushed back on the NFL's intended move, saying it eliminates needed transparency in the case and stifles efforts to improve diversity in the league.
"We have said from the start that if the NFL wants to create change, the first step is to allow for transparency," Douglas H. Wigdor of Wigdor LLP and John Elefterakis of EEP Law said in a statement obtained by UPI.
"The NFL's attempt to force these claims into arbitration demonstrates an unmistakable desire to avoid any public accountability and ensure that these claims are litigated behind closed doors in a forum stacked against our clients.
"We will fight this request in court, but Mr. Goodell should have done the right thing, disclaimed arbitration altogether and allowed this case to be tried before a jury representing a cross-section of the community, just like those who watch football."
Standard NFL contracts often call for disputes to be handled in private arbitration instead of the judicial system. The Dolphins, one of the teams named as a defendant in the lawsuit, previously asked the league to request arbitration for the case.
Flores, though, wants the case to remain in the courts for a jury trial, where it would eventually move to discovery and each side can present relevant documents.
The 41-year-old Flores, who is currently an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers, filed a lawsuit in February against the NFL and multiple teams for discrimination in their hiring practices.
Earlier this month, two additional coaches -- former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks and former defensive coordinator Ray Horton -- joined Flores' lawsuit by amending the initial complaint to include their own accusations of discrimination in hiring and firing practices of the Cardinals and Tennessee Titans.