Weeks after making headlines with a discrimination lawsuit against the NFL and several teams, Brian Flores has a new gig. The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Saturday afternoon that Flores was joining the franchise as the new senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach.
The Steelers announcement highlighted Flores’ more than 14 years of NFL coaching experience as a benefit to the franchise.
Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin said he was excited about adding Flores to his staff.
“I am excited about Brian Flores joining our coaching staff given his history of developing and teaching defensive players during his time in the NFL,” Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin said. “Brian’s resume speaks for itself, and I look forward to him adding his expertise to help our team.”
Flores is moving forward with a new position, and so is his lawsuit. Despite the new gig, Flores’ attorneys insist the lawsuit continues.
It’s not surprising that Flores found a new coaching home with the Steelers. Until a little over a week ago, Tomlin was the league’s only Black head coach.
As sportswriter Chuck Modiano explained, the Steelers is “one of [the] only teams that isn’t racist in coach hiring.”
The Rooney Rule was named after Dan Rooney, the Steelers’ former owner and chair of the league’s diversity committee. But simply requiring teams to interview a “minority candidate” doesn’t do anything to ensure greater parity in hiring.
One of Flores’ allegations in his suit is that the New York Giants interviewed him to be consistent with the Rooney Rule and without real consideration for the position. The NFL and the individual teams listed in the suit deny Flores’ allegations but it’s been clear the league has a real problem.
As previously reported by NewsOne, the Miami Dolphin’s new head coach, Mike McDaniel, is biracial and has a Black father but doesn’t see race and doesn’t seem to identify with being Black. When previously asked about his race, McDaniel indicated he was human.
Two weeks ago, Steelers’ owner Art Rooney II acknowledged the lag in diversifying head coaches within the league. While Rooney did not comment on Flores’ allegations, he noted the league had work to do but also claimed in a statement that there have been improvements in hiring for other positions.
The Houston Texans recently announced hiring defensive coordinator Lovie Smith as the franchise’s new head coach, making him the second Black head coach currently in the league.
“I realize the amount of Black head coaches there are in the National Football League. There’s Mike Tomlin, and I think there’s me, I don’t know of many more. So there’s a problem, and it’s obvious for us. And after there’s a problem, what are you going to do about it?” Smith said in a previous news conference.