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The explosive Brian Flores lawsuit is sure to shake up the NFL and its general manager and head coach hiring practices. How much and in what exact ways isn’t known yet. Although, former NBA player and current ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins says the lawsuit itself won’t spur enough change without the support of white NFL superstars like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Eli and Peyton Manning.

The Brian Flores lawsuit calls out systematic racism in the NFL’s hiring process

The crux of the Brian Flores lawsuit against the NFL, its teams, and, specifically, the Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos, and New York Giants starts is that “the NFL remains rife with racism, particularly when it comes to the hiring and retention of Black Head Coaches, Coordinators and General Managers.”

The complaint is rife with current and historical statistics relating to Black people in positions of power — from ownership to general managers to head coaches to coordinators — in the league.

It even includes damning picture collages of the current head coaches, general managers, and owners in the NFL. The biggest takeaway is the obvious lack of Black faces. It’s stunning to see that, in a league where approximately 70% of the workforce is Black, how little Black representation there is in these positions.

The suit also gets into the specific treatment of Flores and other Black coaches and executives like Steve Wilks, David Culley, Jim Caldwell, Kris Richard, Teryl Austin, and Eric Bieniemy.

The courts will ultimately decide what all this means from a legal perspective. However, for NFL fans, the suit is definitely worth reading.

The more people who read it, the more people from all types of backgrounds will speak out against what seems like, at best, flawed hiring practices. At least, that’s the hope of former NBA player Kendrick Perkins. He believes that more white NFL stars need to speak up about this situation.

Former NBA player Kendrick Perkins called out the NFL’s white stars for not speaking up

Kendrick Perkins played 16 seasons in the NBA and is now an ESPN commentator. He joined First Take this week to share his thoughts on the Brian Flores lawsuit and the hiring practices surrounding Black coaches in both the NBA and NFL.

The former hooper praised the NBA for making strides in hiring Black coaches during the last two hiring cycles. In the NFL, though, Perkins said that the “racism” won’t stop until the biggest white superstars in the league start speaking up, unprompted:

In order to start changing the narrative, we gotta have white Americans tweet out in support with power. We need the Tom Bradys. You need the Aaron Rodgers, you need the Peyton Mannings, the Eli Mannings. You need those guys to start speaking up and volunteering, not when they’re asked. The only way that this is going to change is that we need people from other races to step up and start saying things.

Kendrick Perkins on the Brian Flores lawsuit

As of Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, only one of the prominent NFL QBs that Perkins mentioned has publically commented on the Flores lawsuit.

That is Eli Manning, who defended the New York Giants organization. He said that, while he doesn’t know any details about the most recent head coach hiring process that is central to the lawsuit, he also doesn’t believe the Giants did anything wrong because he knows the organization and says it does, “everything possible to give everybody a fair chance.”

The 2022 hiring cycle is not a good look for the NFL

(L-R) Former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores; ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins; NFL QBs Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers at The Match. Perkins recently criticized Brady and Rodgers for not speaking up about the Brian Flores lawsuit.
(L-R) Brian Flores, Kendrick Perkins, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers | Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images; Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images; Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images for The Match.

For everyone saying that the NFL doesn’t have an issue with hiring Black coaches, the 2022 hiring cycle isn’t helping back up that argument.

There were nine head coaching vacancies to start the 2022 offseason. As of early February, six of the nine have been filled. These new head coaches are Matt Eberflus (Chicago Bears), Nathaniel Hackett (Denver Broncos), Brian Daboll (New York Giants), Josh McDaniels (Las Vegas Raiders), Kevin O’Connell (Minnesota Vikings), and Doug Pederson (Jacksonville Jaguars).

This is a diverse group of hires in terms of age, experience, and specialty. However, all these coaches do share one thing in common: They are all white.

Three head coach openings remain. The Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, and Houston Texans are all still looking. And, there are a ton of qualified, experienced, successful Black candidates out there, including Brian Flores himself, along with names like Todd Bowles, Leslie Frazier, Byron Leftwich, Eric Bieniemy, Patrick Graham, Jim Caldwell, and Raheem Morris.

Despite all the options, it does seem like there is a good chance that none of these talented coaches will get a job in 2022, and that would not just be a terrible look for the NFL but give major credence to the Flores lawsuit.

Although Black coaches aren’t having a good run in 2022, there are some positive signs on the general manager level.

Of the five openings, four teams (Giants, Raiders, Bears, Vikings) have filled the position. Two of these teams hired Black GMs, with the Bears selecting Ryan Poles and the Vikings bringing on Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are still looking to fill the role.

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