Only two Black head coaches left in NFL after Brian Flores firing

"It was an honor to represent the franchise and lead this group of men," former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said.

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The Miami Dolphins announced Monday that head coach Brian Flores is out after three seasons with the franchise.

“The Miami Dolphins announced today that head coach Brian Flores has been relieved of his duties,” the team said in an official statement, ESPN reports. “Flores completed his third season as head coach with a 24-25 record.

Flores accepted the job as head coach in 2019, hours after helping the Patriots shut down the high-scoring Los Angeles Rams for a 13-3 victory in Super Bowl LIII.

Brian Flores, former Head coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

“I want to thank the Miami Dolphins for the opportunity to be the head coach of this team for the last three seasons,” said Flores in a statement Monday. “It was an honor to represent the franchise and lead this group of men. I am grateful most of all for the players, coaches and support staff who gave everything they had on a daily basis to help us win games. They deserve the credit for any success on the field, and it was the honor of a lifetime for me to go to work with them everyday.” 

“I have always believed that leadership is really about service, and I did my best to serve the players, the staff and the organization everyday. I believe in this team and will always value the relationships my family and I made here,” he continued.

In his own statement, Team owner Stephen Ross said: “I made a decision today to part ways with Brian Flores. After evaluating where we are as an organization and what we need going forward to improve, I determined that key dynamics of our football organization weren’t functioning at a level I want it to be and felt that this decision was in the best interest of the Miami Dolphins.

I believe we have a talented young roster in place and have the opportunity to be much better in 2022. I want to thank Brian for his hard work and wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

More than 60% of NFL players are Black, and now that Flores has been relieved of his duties, there remain only two Black head coaches in the league, 66-year-old David Culley of the Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, the third longest-tenured coach in the NFL.  

When Tomlin was hired in 2007 there were six Black head coaches in the NFL. It’s a stark reminder of the NFL’s decades-old Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate when filling head coach and general manager positions.

Many believe the NFL continues to make a mockery of the Rooney Rule by continuing to fail to address the league’s lack of diversity. 

“Clearly, we are not where we want to be on this level,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in 2018. “We have a lot of work that’s gone into not only the Rooney Rule but our policies overall. It’s clear we need to change and do something different.”

“There’s no reason to expect we’re going to have a different outcome next year without those kinds of changes,” he added.

USA Today’s NFL Editor Doug Farrar tweeted, “In an NFL where well over 70% of the players are Black, there are now two Black head coaches. Two. 6.25% of the group. Keep that in mind as the league is shoving “Inspire Change” down your throats.”

One Twitter user responded, “That is not by accident….AT ALL. And imagine getting fired with a winning record…how often does that happen…and when it does happen who does it happen to?….wild times. NFL “say one thing, do another.”

President Joe Biden has also commented on the lack of Black coaches in the NFL. During an interview that aired at halftime of the 2021 Super Bowl, theGrio previously reported. Biden said in part, “I don’t understand why they cannot find — because they exist, so many African American coaches that are qualified, that should be in the pros, in my view.”

Hours after firing Flores on Monday, Ross shot down rumors that he is eying Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh to fill the vacancy. Ross is an alumnus of the university.

“I have no coach in mind at this point. We’re going to do a thorough review and interview process,” Ross said. “And Jim Harbaugh, I love Jim Harbaugh. He had the opportunity once before to come to the Miami Dolphins. But he’s at the University of Michigan. … That is my school I graduated from, and I’m very involved in it.”

Flores wasn’t the only head coach that was curbed on what has been dubbed Black Monday. The Denver Broncos canned coach Vic Fangio. The Chicago Bears parted ways with head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace. Additionally, Mike Zimmer was fired as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, and Rick Spielman was released as general manager. 

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