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Lions’ Duce Staley, Aaron Glenn share own experiences in light of Brian Flores’ discrimination suit

Staley and Glenn have not experienced the same discriminations Flores alleges, but Staley acknowledged “overqualified” Black coaches are being overlooked.

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NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a discrimination class-action lawsuit against the NFL and three different NFL teams: the Dolphins, Broncos, and Giants.

In the suit, Flores alleges some pretty serious accusations regarding the hiring process for himself and other minority candidates around the NFL. Some of the most drastic accusations include being accidentally congratulated by New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on winning the Giants head coaching job—a text that was meant for Brian Daboll and was sent before Flores’ in-person interview in New York, suggesting his interview was a “sham.” He also alleges that in 2019 then-Broncos general manager John Elway was late to the interview and appeared hungover.

On top of that, he alleged that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered him $100,000 for every loss in Miami in an effort to tank and get a higher draft pick.

You can read Flores’ bombshell suit here.

Shortly after, the NFL released a statement denying the veracity of Flores’ claims.

“The NFL and our clubs are deeply committed to ensuring equitable employment practices and continue to make progress in providing equitable opportunities throughout our organizations. Diversity is core to everything we do, and there are few issues on which our clubs and our internal leadership team spend more time. We will defend against these claims, which are without merit.”

All three teams, too, issued statements denying Flores’ claims.

Coincidentally, two minority Detroit Lions coaches who have gone through NFL head coaching interviews were made available to the media on Tuesday, just about an hour after the Flores news went public. Both defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and running backs coach/assistant head coach Duce Staley weren’t aware of the lawsuit when asked about them, but both said that they believe their own head coaching interviews have been fair.

“I have no idea of everything that goes into the lawsuit with Brian, so I don’t want to speak on that, but me, personally, I thought all my interviews were really good interviews,” Glenn said. “The way I look at it is I get a chance to get in front of these GMs and other high-level people in the organization and just express my thoughts on how to be a head coach and how to run an organization. That’s the only way I look at it. I don’t look at it like they’re fake interviews or anything like that. If that was to happen, that’s a shame for the league, but I haven’t experienced that, just to be honest with you.”

Glenn has experienced two interviews for head coaching gigs. He interviewed for the Jets in 2021 and for the Broncos this year. He is also expected to interview for the Saints head coaching job this Wednesday. Though Glenn didn’t know the exact details of the allegations against Denver, he did note that he believed the Broncos—now led by general manager George Paton, not the alleged Elway—were professional in their conduct with his interview.

“I think George Paton is a hell of a GM. I like the way that he handled the interview,” Glenn said. “The start of the interview was just me and him for an hour, just talking. And I would say the last three hours—actually, it went longer than that, which was surprising. My interview was almost six and a half hours. To me, that spoke volumes. Apparently, they liked what they were hearing.”

The Broncos would end up hiring Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett two weeks later.

As for Staley, he’s only interviewed for the Philadelphia Eagles head coaching gig after serving as the team’s running backs coach for eight years. He called that interview process “fair,” and doesn’t believe he’s been unfairly passed over by any other NFL franchise.

That being said, Staley—who has been outspoken about this issue before—did say that he believes there are qualified Black coaches out there that are definitely long past due their opportunity to become an NFL head coach.

“There’s some guys out there that’s overqualified, and we all know that. There’s some guys out there that have been coaching in this league for a while that are outstanding coaches, and I can’t speak of the process. I can’t speak of what they went through as far as interviewing or anything like that. I just know I can speak of the man and the coach, and they’re overqualified. So, hopefully, we’ve still got a couple openings, right? Hopefully one of those guys gets a job.”