NEW YORK — The NFL is telling a judge there are multiple reasons why a lawsuit brought against it by three Black coaches who allege racist hiring practices should fail.
The league said in a letter in advance of an initial hearing before a Manhattan federal judge that it will either ask the claims of Brian Flores and two other coaches be forced into arbitration or be dismissed without a trial because they lack legal merit.
The letter was prepared jointly by lawyers for the coaches and the NFL to notify the judge of each side's positions in advance of a May 2 hearing.
EEP Law, the legal representatives of Brian Flores, Steve Wilks and Ray Horton, released a statement in response to the NFL's letter.
"We have asked Commissioner Goodell to disavow the use of arbitration for this case, as forced arbitration should be prohibited for race discrimination cases just as it now is prohibited for sexual harassment cases," EEP Law said in a statement.
The statement criticizes the arbitration saying that arbitration is "secretive" and lacks accountability.
"We have said from the start that if the NFL wants to create change, the first step is to allow for transparency. The NFL's attempt to force these claims into arbitration demonstrates an unmistakable desire to avoid any public accountability and ensure that these claims are litigated behind closed doors in a forum stacked against our clients," said Douglas H. Wigdor, Wigdor LLP, and John Elefterakis, EEP Law, in a statement. "We will fight this request in court, but Mr. Goodell should have done the right thing, disclaimed arbitration altogether and allowed this case to be tried before a jury representing a cross-section of the community, just like those who watch football."
EEP Law said Commissioner Goodell and the NFL have not responded to its request to disavow arbitration.