Devin McCourty, Nate Solder stand with Brian Flores on NFL lawsuit

McCourty and Solder both offered support for Brian Flores, whose lawsuit against the NFL is calling the league's hiring practices into question once again.

Brian Flores with the Patriots. Jim Davis/The Boston Globe
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As Brian Flores’s lawsuit against the NFL and several teams alleging racial discrimination in hiring practices roils the league, a few members of his Patriots family are sticking up for him.

Patriots safety Devin McCourty and former New England/current New York Giants offensive guard Nate Solder both tweeted out their support for Flores, who claimed he has been “humiliated” by several teams using him as a token “Rooney Rule” candidate during multiple head-coaching interview cycles.

“Flo has always been a special individual…has been pivotal in my career and love that I can support him for calling out what we all already know,” wrote McCourty on Tuesday after the news of the coach’s lawsuit broke.

Flores served as McCourty’s position coach from 2012-15 before transitioning to a role as linebackers coach from 2016-18. He also called the Patriots’ defensive plays in 2018 and earned praise for his performance as New England won its most recent Super Bowl title.


He then took the Miami Dolphins’ coaching job in 2019, going 24-25 in three seasons (including 19 wins in his last two years) before being fired this past offseason. The coach further alleges in his suit that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered him extra money to ensure Miami tanked for better draft positions, and illicitly meet with a prominent quarterback a report says is Tom Brady, which Flores claims he refused to do and put his job status in jeopardy.

But the crux of his current suit rests on his interview process with the Giants.

Flores said he learned through an accidental text from Patriots coach Bill Belichick that New York already planned to name Brian Daboll (another former Patriots coach) its head coach three days before Flores interviewed for the position, suggesting his talk with the Giants was merely a sham meeting to satisfy “Rooney Rule” requirements. (The rule, established in 2003, currently states teams must interview at least two minority candidates for head-coaching vacancies.)

Judging by the timeline, which has Flores receiving those text messages from Belichick on January 24, the Giants had only interviewed one minority candidate (Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier) at that time. Any potential agreement with Daboll to take over as head coach at that point would, therefore, have violated the Rooney Rule.


In any case, Solder, who plays for the Giants team that allegedly snubbed Flores, also had nothing but good things to say about one of his old Patriots coaches.

“B Flo has always been a man of conviction and character,” Solder wrote. “I am proud of him for risking so much and standing for truth and justice at great risk and cost to himself and his family. I got your back coach.”

Other figures from the NFL, including former Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson, have also backed Flores’s suit, with Jackson suggesting he too was offered money to lose games with the Browns.

But, as McCourty pointed out, the focus of the coach’s case is “calling out what we already know”: Black coaches continue, by the numbers, to have fewer opportunities at high-level opportunities, including coordinator and head-coaching jobs, and often have much less margin for error (and fewer “second chances”) when they attain those positions.

And, in Flores’s case, even doing your job and winning football games isn’t always enough.


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