Flores carpet-bombed the NFL yesterday. Can Cal McNair hire him today?
Very rarely in business does a moment of utter, pure serendipity arise and stand right in your face. For the Houston Texans, that moment is now.
What are we on about over here at Battle Red Central, you ask? Well, let’s take a trip down memory lane.
In 1989, Los Angeles Raiders owner Al Davis shocked the NFL world by hiring the first black head coach in the modern era, Hall of Fame offensive lineman and Super Bowl champion Art Shell. This seemingly paved the way for any and all intelligent, capable black coaches to rise to the ultimate position in football coaching: head coach of an NFL team.
Unfortunately, the disparity between Caucasian NFL head coaching candidates and others is still wider than it should be, particularly when it comes to Hispanic candidates (Davis also hired the first Hispanic head coach, two-time Super Bowl winning and perennial Half of Fame snub Tom Flores, prior to Art Shell).
The undercurrent of this story is like a subterranean river of poison, flowing beneath the very foundations of the NFL. Fast forward to 2017, 28 years later, and Houston Texans founder, owner, and team chairman Bob McNair (RIP) makes the most ill-fated comment in franchise history.
…can’t have the inmates running the prison.
This comment set off a firestorm of anger, as it should have. Troy Vincent, then head of the NFLPA, fired back immediately. From ESPN:
After the owners finished, Troy Vincent stood up. He was offended by McNair’s characterization of the players as “inmates.” Vincent said that in all his years of playing in the NFL — during which, he said, he had been called every name in the book, including the N-word — he never felt like an “inmate.”
The turmoil this sparked within the Texans franchise ultimately led to the departure of Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown and the disenfranchisement of star running back Arian Foster. Many, including most of us here at BRB, point to this moment as the exact instant the Texans’ wheels came off the rails and the perpetual train wreck of dumpster fires began.
The elder McNair passed away not long after, leaving control of the team to his son Cal. Although the younger McNair has been smart enough to keep his public comments bland and ambiguous (mostly) , it’s hard to shake the stigma his father draped over the organization.
That brings us to yesterday, when one of the front runners for the vacant Houston Texans head coaching position dropped a bombshell on the NFL world.
Former Miami HC Brian Flores is suing the NFL, the Giants, the Dolphins and the Broncos for alleged “racism in hiring”, and he includes texts from Patriots’ HC Bill Belichick in the suit as evidence. Lawsuit filed in Manhattan Federal Court seeking unspecified damages from NFL.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 1, 2022
Brian Flores, who was fired as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, is suing the NFL and the New York Giants, alleging racism in hiring.
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) February 2, 2022
To my earlier point, the now deceased Bob McNair is oft used as a “poster boy” for NFL racism.
A lawsuit by fired Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores against the NFL and three teams, alleging racist hiring practices, highlights the league’s struggles to improve diversity — even with rules in place for nearly two decades designed to do just that. https://t.co/woWHrichee
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 2, 2022
Many believe this is a move of “career suicide” for Flores. Including the man himself.
God has gifted me with a special talent to coach the game of football, but the need for change is bigger than my personal goals. In making my decision to file the class action complaint today, I understand that I may be risking coaching the game that I love and that has done so much for my family and me. My sincere hope is that by standing up against systemic racism in the NFL, others will join me to ensure that positive change is made for generations to come.
If you’re the Houston Texans, however, this might just be the opportunity to get out from under the pile of ugly the franchise’s founder dumped on the organization. It might also go a long way to mending fences with a fan base tired of Jack Easterby’s shenanigans and puppetry. No matter how you slice it, Flores would answer to current general manager Nick Caserio, not Easterby. Flores is intelligent, driven, experienced, presumably aligned with the brand of football he and Caserio learned in New England. and proven to work well with Caserio in the past. On paper, the hire makes all the sense in the world, all off-field x-factors notwithstanding.
Not to mention that a man willing to put his career on the line to take on the NFL in this matter is the sort of man other men follow into battle, willingly, passionately, and inspired to win. That’s exactly the sort of leader this team needs to pull it from the drain it’s been circling since 2017.
While Houston is seemingly busy trying to ignore the whole legal debacle with former star quarterback Deshaun Watson, the “spin” on the Flores lawsuit is far more positive. Flores is standing up for victims, not allegedly creating them. It certainly has shades of Martin Luther King and might just be the turning point in NFL inequality. We are watching history unfold before our very eyes.
That brings us to the question for today’s poll. In light of all that’s gone on, would you welcome the hiring of Brian Flores as the Texans’ new head coach?
Your reasoning to hire or not to hire may very well fall into the Xs and Os nature of football. Or maybe you believe there’s a better candidate on the short list not named Josh McCown. If so, please explain your vote in the comments section.
Disclaimer: We recognize the emotional charge this underlying topic holds, and we welcome thoughtful, meaningful discourse in the comments section. However, we will not tolerate hateful, mean-spirited commentary.