In resisting settlement talks in Flores litigation, NFL retreats to its belief that the case is “without merit”

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The NFL initially declared that the Brian Flores case is “without merit.” But then the NFL seemed to acknowledge that there were merit to the claims. More recently, the NFL has reverted to its “without merit” mantra.

Via Daniel Wallach of, the judge presiding over the litigation invited the parties to participate in a settlement conference on Monday. The lawyers representing Brian Flores accepted. The NFL declined.

It’s no surprise. In a joint letter sent by the lawyers to the presiding judge on April 21, the two sides commented on the prospect of settlement. The lawyers representing Flores and his fellow plaintiffs explained that they have “proposed mediation before and with the assistance of a neutral third party, including retired federal judgments and respected members of the legal and civil rights community,” and that the plaintiffs expressed a desire during the mediation “to discuss meaningful measures the NFL can take to address what the NFL has admitted is a ‘double standard’ for Black coaches and executives and what the NFL has admitted is an ‘unacceptable’ under-representation of persons of color in positions .”

The league’s response in the April 21 letter went like this: “Defendants are engaged in ongoing efforts to improve diversity among coaches and staff, and would welcome the involvement of Plaintiffs and other Black coaches and executives in those efforts. However, Defendants believe that the claims asserted in this lawsuit are without merit as a matter of law, and intend to vigorously defend against them.”

So the league is back on the record with the same words it used as a knee-jerk reaction when the lawsuit was filed. The claims, according to the NFL, as “without merit.”

It’s no surprise. As long as the league can potentially force the case into its secret rigged kangaroo court, of course it believes the claims are without merit. If the NFL eventually prevails in its motion to compel arbitration, the end result most likely will be a full and complete win. In more ways than one. Beyond engineering the desired outcome, the arbitration process will keep things away from the prying eyes and ears of those who might scrutinize the facts developed and arguments made.

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