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Black NFL coaches try to question Commissioner Goodell in bias



(Reuters) – Three black coaches who have accused the National Football League in a racist recruitment trial want to question league commissioner Roger Goodell under oath when they try to keep the case in federal court instead of going to arbitration.

In a court appearance on Friday, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and two other coaches also asked U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni to ask the NFL to share documents regarding Mr. Goodell’s compensation and how it was negotiated, and whether the lawmakers believe the commissioner is doing a good job.

“These documents will demonstrate Mr. Goodell’s extreme personal financial interest in maintaining his position and the level at which he is financially grateful to the NFL and its teams,”

; the coaches’ lawyers wrote.

A deposit by Mr. Goodell could also reveal further evidence of the “arbitrator’s bias,” the lawyers added.

The NFL has said that the lawsuit should be rejected because the claims have no legal basis, or otherwise be sent to arbitration.

Neither a spokesman for the NFL nor the league’s attorneys responded immediately to requests for comment. The league has said that its arbitration process is fair.

Mr. Flores sued the NFL in February in Manhattan’s federal court, accusing teams of conducting “mock interviews” with black candidates to pursue a policy that requires minorities to be considered, and to pay black coaches less than their white counterparts.

Two more Black coaches, former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks and longtime assistant coach Ray Horton, joined as plaintiffs in the proposed class action lawsuit in April.

The NFL has denied the claims and demanded that the dispute be resolved in its closed arbitration.

Mr. Goodell would be the league’s appointed mediator. Coaches have said he would be biased because the team hires him.

The league has since 2003 required teams to consider minority candidates for vacant head coach jobs under their so-called Rooney rule, and in 2009 the rule was extended to include general manager jobs.

Mr Flores has said he underwent “sham” interviews for coaching jobs with the New York Giants and Denver Broncos to follow the Rooney rule.

The Pittsburgh Steelers hired Mr. Flores as the team’s senior defensive assistant and linebacker coach three weeks after joining the league.


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