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Report: NFL Hiring Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch for Brian Flores Lawsuit

The NFL is reportedly hiring former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to defend the league against ex-Dolphins coach Brian Flores’s proposed class action, which alleges discrimination and racism in hiring practices, according to Bloomberg Law

Flores is suing the league, three franchises and unidentified individuals, alleging discrimination and racism in hiring practices. Among the complaints listed in the filing, Flores said he took part in two “sham” interviews as teams attempted to comply with the Rooney Rule, citing the Giants and Broncos.

The proposed class action states: “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.”

Shortly after the news broke, the league released a statement asserting its commitment to diversity and called Flores’s claims “without merit.” However, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated recently that the allegations will be investigated to see if league policies were broken.

“We won’t tolerate racism,” Goodell said, per ESPN. “We won’t tolerate discrimination. If there are policies that we need to modify, we're going to do that. If we’ve seen evidence of discrimination, we will deal with that in a very serious way that will reflect the fact that we won't tolerate that.”

There are currently only five minority head coaches within the league as two were fired and two were hired this offseason. Goodell said every option is on the table, including replacing the league’s Rooney Rule. As written today, it says NFL teams must interview two minority candidates when looking for a new head coach.

“We believe in diversity,” Goodell said last week. “We believe it has made us stronger. People who have come into the league who are diverse have been very successful and made us better, and we just have to do a better job. ... Is there another thing that we can do to make sure that we’re attracting the best talent and making our league more inclusive? If I had the answer right now, I would give it to you. I would have implemented it.

“I think we have to continue to look and find and step back and say, ‘We’re not doing a good enough job here.’ We need to find better solutions and better outcomes. Let’s find more effective policies. Let’s make sure everyone understands. Let’s make sure that we’re looking at diversity and incentivizing that for everybody in our building.”

Flores also alleged that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered him a $100,000 bonus for each loss during the 2019 season in attempt to secure the league’s worst record and the No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft. Flores says he didn’t comply with the request. 

Lynch is a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and will be work alongside the firm’s chairman Brad Karp on the litigation, per Bloomberg. She joined the firm in 2019 after serving in the administration of former President Barack Obama. 

The attorney was also appointed in 2020 to work on an inquiry concerning the Washington Commanders and the workplace misconduct claims among Washington's owners. According to the Wall Street Journal, her investigation focused on allegations that Dwight Schar, one of the three previous minority owners, attempted to “disseminate information that would hurt or defame [team owner Dan] Snyder.”

Currently, lawmakers on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Reform are calling for the league to release the full findings, even more so after documents released by the committee raise questions about whether a separate investigation by the league was truly independent. 

The Washington Post reported in 2020 that female employees of the team experienced sexual harassment, and later, Washington cheerleaders said they had been secretly videotaped while getting undressed, and reached a settlement with the team