Rev. Al Sharpton and other civil rights leaders are calling for a meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss a lack of diversity in the league.
The request comes in the wake of a class-action lawsuit filed against the NFL and its 32 teams by Black former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores, citing racial discrimination. Allegedly fired by the Dolphins for refusing to purposely lose games in exchange for $100,000 bonuses, Flores claims he then participated in sham interviews with other teams who sought only to comply with the NFL’s Rooney rule, which requires two minority candidates to be interviewed for vacant head-coaching positions.
In a joint letter to Goodell, Sharpton and the leaders said they are “outraged” by the fact that there is not one Black owner and only one Black coach despite nearly 70% of NFL players being Black. The other civil rights leaders joining Sharpton are National Urban League President, Marc Morial, Barbara Skinner, Co-convener of the National African American Clergy Network, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson and Melanie Campbell, President of the Black Women’s Roundtable
“In light of the recent lawsuit filed by Brian Flores, it has brought this attention back to the forefront of our community, and it is important that you have an immediate open dialogue with Civil Rights leadership,” the letter said. “We are being asked to do everything within our power, including direct action at next week’s Super Bowl, as well as appealing to local municipalities that underwrite and give special considerations to stadiums to pressure the NFL and its owners to get more serious about enforcing the ruling law.”