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NFL taps Loretta Lynch to fight Brian Flores discrimination suit

The National Football League has hired Loretta Lynch, the former US attorney general under President Obama, to defend it against the race discrimination suit filed by ex-Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores. Lynch, a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, is teaming up with the law firm’s chairman, Brad Karp, to handle the litigation, according to Bloomberg. The lawsuit filed by Flores also names the Dolphins and two other teams as defendants. The club’s owner, billionaire real estate developer Stephen Ross, has hired another law firm to represent it. The decision by Lynch, the Harvard Law graduate who became the first black woman to head up the Justice Department in 2014, to take up the case on behalf of the NFL in court sparked outrage on social media. “Loretta Lynch did what?? During Black History Month??” tweeted one Twitter observer. Another Twitter user wrote: “This is the same Loretta Lynch who was hired by BlackRock then worked for McDonald’s in a suit against black franchise owners. So her working on behalf of the NFL isn’t surprising. She’s a really, really s—-y person.” “I’m an admirer of Loretta Lynch,” tweeted another Twitter user. “But I wish she had declined to represent the NFL in this case.” Of the 32 teams in the NFL, just two — the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Houston Texans — have a black head coach despite the fact that the players are more than 70% African-American. Flores was succeeded as Dolphins head coach by Mike McDaniel, who is bi-racial. On Feb. 1, Flores filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court accusing the NFL of racial bias after he was passed over for several open head coaching positions. The lawsuit names the NFL and three teams — the Denver Broncos, the Dolphins, and the New York Giants — as defendants. Flores accused the Giants and Broncos of having him in for “sham” interviews to satisfy the Rooney Rule requiring clubs to interview minority candidates for top vacancies. He also alleged Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered him $100,000 for every loss so the team could tank for a better draft position during his tenure as head coach. Flores, who is black and Hispanic, is being represented by attorney Douglas Wigdor, the Manhattan-based trial lawyer who has been hired by plaintiffs in discrimination and harassment lawsuits against high-profile entities such as Fox News, Goldman Sachs, and Harvey Weinstein. The NFL has dismissed Flores’ claims as without merit and said that it seeks to promote diversity.

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