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Pittsburgh Steelers hire Brian Flores, suing NFL for racial discrimination, as assistant coach

The Steelers announced Saturday that Flores has been named the team’s senior assistant defensive coach/linebackers on head coach Mike Tomlin’s staff.

“I’m thrilled to have Brian Flores join our coaching staff given his history of developing and teaching defensive players during his time in the NFL,” Tomlin said. “Brian’s resume speaks for itself, and I look forward to him adding his expertise to help our team.”

Flores attorneys Douglas Wigdor and John Elefterakis said in a statement: “We congratulate Coach Flores on his new position with the Steelers and thank Coach Tomlin and the organization for giving him this great opportunity. So As Coach Flores now focuses on his new position, he will continue his class action lawsuit against racial discrimination so that real change can be brought to the NFL.”

Tomlin is one of two black head coaches in a league where nearly 70% of players are black. The other is Lovie Smith of the Houston Texans. Mike McDaniel, who is multiracial, replaced Flores as Dolphins head coach after Flores was fired last month after going 24-25 in his three seasons.

Flores, 40, who is black, sued the Dolphins organization with the NFL and two other NFL teams alleging racial discrimination.

The 58-page lawsuit lambastes NFL culture and the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview two outside minority candidates for head coaching positions. The lawsuit says the rule hasn’t worked to increase the hiring of coaches of color.
The rule was named for the late Dan Rooney, the Steelers’ longtime president.
In response to Flores’ lawsuit, the NFL called his allegations unsubstantiated, saying in a statement that “diversity is at the heart of everything we do.”

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