Brian Flores was hired by the Minnesota Vikings on Monday to be their new defensive coordinator. This move should yield immediate positive results, as one of the most respected defensive minds in the NFL aims to restructure the aspect of last year’s squad that most noticeably contributed to an early playoff exit.
But new reports suggest that Flores could have had another job elsewhere -- specifically, head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.
Outkick reported that Arizona was interested in Flores and they reached out to him for interviews for their head coaching vacancy, but Flores chose not to continue with the process.
This is significant because last year, Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFL after being fired from his head coaching position by the Miami Dolphins that stated the league racially discriminates against black head coaches. And yet, when offered a head coaching job, he declined (the Cardinals ended up hiring Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon instead).
As a side note, this fact pattern dismantles Jake Tapper’s argument that the Cardinals only wanted to hire a white man for the job. They were clearly after a defensive-minded coach, and Gannon wanted the position.
Now why would Flores turn down this opportunity?
“There was still an opportunity with Arizona,” Flores said during his introductory press conference with the Vikings. “You almost get a gut feeling. I think we’ve all kind of had those, that this (Minnesota) was the place for me and my family. This was the right opportunity.”
That’s a perfectly valid reason to turn down a job: it wasn’t the right fit and he had a better option.
Minnesota is clearly the better team with the better immediate and long-term outlook. Last season, they won the NFC North and finished with a record of 13-4, only losing by a touchdown in their Wild Card game. That roster has lots of potential on both sides of the ball.
By contrast, the Cardinals went 4-13 and had the second-worst record in the NFC. Their outlook is dismal and they are clearly in rebuild mode. Flores had a choice to make, and he made the one he thought was best for his career and his family.
All of this is perfectly logical and expected of anyone making a decision of this magnitude. But do you notice what you won’t be able to find in this situation? Racial discrimination.
When a black man doesn’t get a head coaching job in the NFL, we must realize that there are often multiple factors at play that contribute to this specific outcome. It’s easy to cry “racism,” it’s harder to be patient and consider other things.
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