Brian Flores’ Ethical Impact On The Steelers

June 8, 2022
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Brian Flores made headlines everywhere after going forward with wanting to “expose” discriminatory actions from the NFL front offices for which he has worked. Besides being a great coach, Brian Flores is making great impressions on his fellow Steelers.

Showing Love

Steeler’s Depot on Twitter quoted Alex Highsmith: “He’s (Brian Flores) added so much value. I’m just thankful for (Tomlin) bringing him in. Him being in the linebacker room, he’s working with inside and outside linebackers. Being able to go with him, it’s been really cool. I’ve already learned so much from him. Myles Jack said (on Flores), “He’s very detailed, clear cut. There’s no grey area with him. I think that’s great. In this offseason, we’ve been able to fine-tune a bunch of things. We know what’s right and what’s not right.”

Setting An Example

It was very brave and bold for Brian Flores to bring the topic of discrimination in the NFL to the table. He was offered extra money to do certain things that could jeopardize an organization, but he turned it down. In a sport that is predominantly black (or African-American), most of the owners and front office personnel are not minorities (or women). He knew he was risking his career, and being ridiculed for coming forward about these unjust actions. As a current doctoral student (and in my graduate program), I have studied sports law and ethics for quite a while.

I am very interested in how the rules and regulations work. Since I studied journalism (for my undergraduate degree), I am very used to be aware of ethics and how to “conduct” myself in certain situations. Being a coach is not an easy job. You will not please everyone. People will complain about and reject your methods and not always agree with you. Initially, you have to do what is best for the team. 

I think that Brian Flores is setting a great example for the players and other coaches within the organization, the NFL as a whole, and the entire sports world. I learned about “stacking” (or racial stacking) in professional sports in a sociology class during my undergraduate studies. My professor mentioned that it was common in Major League Baseball, and it is evident in the NFL as well.

By definition, The Exploration of Race and Sports says it means, “placing athletes in certain positions based on racial stereotypes.” For example, white players may be encouraged to play certain positions (like quarterback) because they are supposed “more intelligent.”

Meanwhile, African-American players are usually placed in positions such as running back, wide receiver, and defense back because of “naturally aggressive abilities.” Can stacking happen within coaching too? Why are minorities (gender and race and/or ethnicity) underrepresented in the coaching field in the NFL? What can be changed to improve this issue?

For as long as the NFL has been around, we have yet to conclude these thought-provoking questions. These type of situations are what fuels me to continue my education in sports administration. I am researching topics and questions every day because I want to be able to innovate the sports world. Being in sports is not just about X’s and O’s. Having integrity and being accountable is what really matters.