NFL

'I interviewed Brian Flores in good faith' - Denver Broncos executive John Elway rejects accusations

By Sports Desk February 03, 2022

Denver Broncos president of operations John Elway has dismissed "sham" interview accusations made by former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores as "false and defamatory".

Flores has launched a class action lawsuit, alleging the NFL is rife with racism and has a "disingenuous commitment to social equity".

In the suit, Flores alleges that when he interviewed for the role of head coach with the Broncos in 2019, Elway and former Denver executive Joe Ellis were late and appeared "completely dishevelled" from an evening of heavy drinking.

Flores is suing the league along with teams from which he alleges he has personally experienced racism, naming the Dolphins and the Broncos along with the New York Giants as defendants, together with "John Doe Teams 1 through 29".

The suit, filed at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, demands a jury trial. The NFL said Flores' claims "are without merit", adding that it would put up a defence. The three teams named by Flores have also rejected his allegations.

The NFL has a 'Rooney Rule' in place that requires all teams seeking a new head coach "to interview at least one or more diverse candidates".

It is alleged in the lawsuit that Flores "was interviewed only because of the Rooney Rule" by the Broncos and was never intended to be "a legitimate candidate", while also criticising the interview board.

The Broncos described the various claims against the franchise as "blatantly false" and "baseless and disparaging", to which Flores responded on ESPN's Get Up! show on Wednesday, saying: "I deal in truth, that's my reaction. I deal in truth. Honesty, integrity is important to me, and hopefully, there's a day we find out the truth on that one."

Elway released a statement on Thursday to further deny the claims made by Flores, saying: "While I was not planning to respond publicly to the false and defamatory claims by Brian Flores, I could not be silent any longer with my character, integrity and professionalism being attacked.

"I took Coach Flores very seriously as a candidate for our head coaching position in 2019 and enjoyed our three-and-a-half-hour interview with him. Along with the rest of our group, I was prepared, ready and fully engaged during the entire interview as Brian shared his experience and vision for our team.

"It's unfortunate and shocking to learn for the first time this week that Brian felt differently about our interview with him.

"For Brian to make an assumption about my appearance and state of mind early that morning was subjective, hurtful and just plain wrong. If I appeared 'dishevelled,' as he claimed, it was because we had flown in during the middle of the night - immediately following another interview in Denver - and were going on a few hours of sleep to meet the only window provided to us.

"I interviewed Brian in good faith, giving him the same consideration and opportunity as every other candidate for our head coaching position in 2019."

The Broncos recently appointed Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett as their new head coach, having parted company with previous head coach Vic Fangio, who was hired in 2019.

Fangio achieved a 19-30 record during his three seasons with the franchise, failing to reach the playoffs throughout his tenure.

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