American football — which is to say football (take that, everywhere else in the world that calls soccer the wrong thing) — is one of America’s deeply held traditions. You’ve probably made a couple of friends praising or complaining about the Cowboys or the Eagles. You may have done either depending on your current company. Your secret is safe with me. But there are times when the game stops being just a game — its protests and lawsuits can serve as hyper-visible parallels of the interpersonal and structural conflicts littered elsewhere in our smaller slices of Americana. Take racial disparities in hiring, for example. It’s been common knowledge that racial tells as simple as your name could be the difference between a call back and the round file. And as easy as it is to think that that is just an unfortunate reality of corporate gigs, there are all sorts of racial discrimination in hiring claims out there. The NFL is no exception. From Reuters:
The National Football League and three of its teams must face claims by Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores of racist hiring practices in open court, a U.S. judge in New York ruled on Wednesday while sending other aspects of the case to private arbitration.
U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni ruled that the NFL, the Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Houston Texans must face Flores’ claims of systematic discrimination against Black coaches in the league. Flores formerly served as head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
The lawsuit seeks to force the NFL to make a series of changes, incentivize teams to hire Black coaches and general managers, and require them to explain hiring and termination decisions in writing.
I don’t know about you, but if the NFL’s hiring process for coaches and GMs looks anything like Colorado University’s hiring heuristics for its players, I can’t wait to read the NFLs explicit hiring and termination decisions. Just take a quick gander at this transparency:
Talk about a discrimination lawsuit waiting to happen! Imagine if you got rejected from a coaching position because you hit the books too hard or didn’t come from a two-parent household.
In the meantime, let’s keep our fingers crossed that a smidgen of the NFL’s hiring and firing practices come out in oral argument. Oh, to be a fly on the wall for when that happens.
NFL Must Face Racial Bias Claims In Open Court, Judge Rules [Reuters]
Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by tweet at @WritesForRent.
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