Brian Flores looks on prior to a game against the New England Patriots. With Flores's firing, there are now only two Black coaches in the NFL.
Brian Flores looks on prior to a game against the New England Patriots.
Michael Reaves/Getty

League Official: Black NFL Coaches Face “Double Standard” to Retain Their Jobs

The firing of Brian Flores by the Miami Dolphins leaves the league with just two Black head coaches

Instead of Black Monday, it was Tuesday that turned out dark for former Giants coach Joe Judge, who was fired yesterday afternoon after going 6-10 in his first season and 4-13 in his second season in New York.

With a cumulative record of just 10-23 and a six-game streak of double-digit losses, Judge should have expected to have been fired and likely deserved to be let go. The same cannot be said for former Miami coach Brian Flores, who was canned on Monday after leading Miami to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2002-03.

Flores, who worked with Judge in New England when both men coached for the Patriots under Bill Belichick, went 24-25 overall in three seasons as the team’s coach but finished 9-8 this season after notching a 10-6 mark in 2020.

While not totally surprising as there was apparently some internal beef between the 40-year-old coach and team owner Stephen Ross, the firing of Flores does not seem warranted and sent shockwaves throughout the NFL. According to NFL’s executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent, there’s a group of people who likely wasn’t all that shocked about Flores’s dismissal after two straight winning seasons: Black NFL head coaches.

From Tony Dungy with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Jim Caldwell with the Detroit Lions, there is somewhat of a history of Black NFL coaches like Flores getting fired despite guiding a team to a winning season, a benchmark that will typically allow a coach to keep their job for one more year. Per Vincent, the NFL shouldn’t “shy away from” its record of teams firing Black coaches after winning seasons or granting them shorter tenures than their white peers.

“There is a double standard. I don’t think that that is something that we should shy away from,” Vincent told The Washington Post. “But that is all part of some of the things that we need to fix in the system. We want to hold everyone to why does one, let’s say, get the benefit of the doubt to be able to build or take bumps and bruises in this process of getting a franchise turned around when others are not afforded that latitude? … We see it at the collegiate level. And we’ve seen that in history at the [professional] level … But when you just look over time, it’s over-indexing for men of color. These men have been fired after a winning season. How do you explain that?”

Following Flores’s dismissal, the NFL has just two Black head coaches. That number could be reduced to one as the Houston Texans are reportedly still in the process of deciding whether to retain current head coach David Culley or not. Flores should get another head-coaching job soon — possibly this week. He deserves one.

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