EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants strongly denied any wrongdoing in their interview process with former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores and called the allegations against them disturbing and simply false in a second statement released Thursday evening.
The Giants laid out a timeline of events as a key contention that Flores' interview was not a "sham," which he contended in his lawsuit against the team and league earlier this week. They were also adamant that New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was providing his opinion and was not told of a decision that the text messages behind him and Flores contend were made before new Giants coach Brian Daboll had his in-person interview with the club.
"The allegation that the Giants' decision had been made prior to Friday evening, January 28, is false," the Giants said in the lengthy statement. "And to base that allegation on a text exchange with Bill Belichick in which he ultimately states that he "thinks" Brian Daboll would get the job is irresponsible. The text exchange occurred the day before Coach Daboll's in-person interview even took place. Giants' ownership would never hire a head coach based only on a 20-minute zoom interview, which is all that Mr. Daboll had at that point.
"In addition, Mr. Belichick does not speak for and has no affiliation with the Giants. Mr. Belichick's text exchange provides no insight into what actually transpired during our head coaching search."
Flores sued the Giants, Denver Broncos and Dolphins in a 58-page lawsuit earlier this week where he claims alleged racial discrimination regarding his interview process. Flores also alleged that the Giants interviewed him last month for their head-coaching vacancy for no other reason than compliance with the NFL's Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview minority candidates for their open positions. The league has amended that rule in recent years and now says teams must hold an in-person interview with at least one external minority candidate for any general manager or head-coach opening.
Flores claims he went through a "sham" interview on Thursday, Jan. 27. His attorney, John Elefterakis, said on ESPN the job was "promised" to Daboll prior to that in-person meeting. Flores used the words "disbelief" and "humiliation" to describe his feelings entering the interview. The Giants in their most recent statement on the topic say there "is additional concrete and objective evidence to substantiate we did not make our decision until the evening of the 28th." They provided a detailed timeline of their interest in Flores.
It began with a phone call from co-owner John Mara to Flores two days after he was fired in Miami. Mara made it clear in that Jan. 12 call that the Giants would interview Flores once they had a general manager in place. The two then had a Zoom call on Jan. 18 at Flores' request to further discuss his candidacy.
Flores then communicated with several other members of the organization before having dinner with new general manager Joe Schoen the night before his Jan. 27 interview.
"The consensus from within the Giants organization after this dinner remained that Mr. Flores was an outstanding candidate, and we looked forward to sitting down with him in person the next day," the statement read. "Our hiring process and, most certainly, our consideration of Mr. Flores was serious and genuine. We are disappointed to learn that Mr. Flores was under the mistaken impression the job had already been awarded.
"In his CBS interview [Wednesday], Mr. Flores was asked if "clubs have the right to hire the person they think is the best qualified for the job or the person they feel is right for them?" Mr. Flores responded "They do. That's very reasonable to me." That is exactly what we did.
"We hired Brian Daboll as our head coach at the conclusion of an open and thorough interview process. No decision was made, and no job offer was extended, until the evening of January 28, a full day after Mr. Flores' in-person interview and day-long visit to the Giants."