Colorado Head Coach & Former Dolphins Assistant Karl Dorrell Stands by Brian Flores: ‘I’m Sure That It’s True’

Colorado Head Coach & Former Dolphins Assistant Karl Dorrell Stands by Brian Flores: ‘I’m Sure That It’s True’ article feature image

Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images. Left: Brian Flores. Right: Karl Dorrell

Brian Flores sent shockwaves through the NFL world on Tuesday when he filed a lawsuit against the NFL, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants and Denver Broncos citing discriminatory practices. 

One of the items he alleged in the lawsuit was Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offering to pay $100,000 per loss during the 2019 season when the Dolphins went 5-11 in order to obtain a higher draft pick. 

“In reality, the writing had been on the wall since Mr. Flores’ first season as Head Coach of the Dolphins, when he refused his owner’s directive to “tank” for the first pick in the draft," the lawsuit reads. "Indeed, during the 2019 season, Miami’s owner, Stephen Ross, told Mr. Flores that he would pay him $100,000 for every loss, and the team’s General Manager, Chris Grier, told Mr. Flores that ‘Steve’ was “mad” that Mr. Flores’ success in winning games that year was ‘compromising [the team’s] draft position.’”

If it is true, the ethical issues are obvious. But it also puts the integrity of the league in question, especially from a sports bettor’s point of view. There are billions of dollars wagered on NFL games throughout the season and sports gambling has never been as prominent in the U.S. as it is right now. 

Colorado head football coach Karl Dorrell was on Brian Flores’ Dolphins staff in 2019. He was elevated to assistant head coach before departing for Colorado in the spring of 2020. 

Dorrell did not deny the allegation but said discussions of tanking games never took place between the coaching staff. 

“In the ‘19 season when I was with coach Flores in Miami, there was no discussion about tanking games or at least he wasn't expressing those things with the staff,” Dorrell said in a press conference Wednesday. “We were all working our tails off to try to find wins and we knew that the roster changed and it was a new roster, and we knew that we were up against it. But I think the competitive nature of the game as coaches and players, we're gonna fight and scratch and try to find ways to win and that's how Brian was built, too.”

“There was no talk among the staff about not trying to win games. We were trying to, as a staff,  win every game and battle and to compete and develop.”

Flores also said there was never any attempt to tank games despite the intimidating remarks from Dolphins ownership. 

“That’s just not in my DNA. That was never going to happen.” Flores told ESPN’s Get Up on Wednesday morning. “… I’m always going to try to win. That’s just who I am. I owe that to the players in the locker room but also the support staff that’s in the building.”

Dorrell mentioned the Dolphins' last game of the season when Miami went on the road and beat the New England Patriots and knocked them out of a first-round bye in the playoffs even though the Dolphins had nothing to play for. 

The Dolphins released a statement on Tuesday saying, "The implication that we acted in a manner inconsistent with the integrity of the game is incorrect."

This doesn't seem like it will be the only accusation from former head coaches. One of Flores’ attorneys, John Elefterakis, told ESPN’s Get Up that there are many “high-profile” coaches that have reached out to them about a similar situation. 

Dorrell added that he believes his former boss and has also experienced discriminatory practices in the NFL.

“All the other dynamics that [Flores] expressed I'm sure they are there, and that it's true,” Dorrell said. “I've felt those things even from time to time as an assistant at other places in the NFL. So it's one of those things that it's an issue that needs to be addressed and it needs to have a viable solution to create a level of balance for those opportunities."

Editor's Note: Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross' company, RSE Ventures, was a minority investor in The Action Network, a relationship that ended when Action was acquired by Better Collective.

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