Texans GM: Brian Flores’ lawsuit had no impact on hire
Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio said Tuesday that the lawsuit filed by Brian Flores last week had no impact on the team’s decision to hire Lovie Smith over the former Miami Dolphins coach.
Caserio made the comment during the press conference to introduce Lovie Smith as the Texans’ new head coach. Caserio directly refuted an assertion made by Flores’ attorneys that Smith was hired over Flores because of the class-action lawsuit.
“I would say it didn’t affect us at all,” Caserio said. “Speaking specific to Brian, I’ve known Brian a long time personally and professionally. I have a lot of respect for Brian as a coach and a person. He was a part of this process. He’s been a good coach in this league for a number of years. Part of my responsibility was to spend time with as many quality candidates as possible and Brian was one of those.”
Caserio, forced to speak over a fire alarm that went off in the middle of his comments, said he had conversations with Flores after the lawsuit was filed.
“A lot of it was me taking a lot of information, processing a lot information … and ultimately arriving to an endpoint that I felt made the most sense for our organization and that’s what we did,” Caserio said.
Hours after news broke Monday that Smith was the Texans’ choice, Flores’ attorneys Douglas H. Wigdor and John Elefterakis put out a statement on Twitter, saying Houston avoided hiring Flores because of the lawsuit.
“Mr. Flores is happy to hear that the Texans have hired a Black head coach, Lovie Smith, as Mr. Flores’ goal in bringing his case is to provide real opportunities for Black and minority candidates to be considered for coaching and executive positions within the NFL,” the statement read. “However, we would be remiss not to mention that Mr. Flores was one of three finalists for the Texans’ head coach position and, after a great interview and mutual interest, it is obvious that the only reason Mr. Flores was not selected was his decision to stand up against racial inequality across the NFL.”
Caserio also refuted assertions that the team planned to hire Josh McCown until Flores’ lawsuit, then reversing course in the interest of optics.
“There were never plans to hire anybody until we arrived at kind of an endpoint,” Caserio said in response to a direct question about McCown.
It’s unclear what role, if any, McCown will have within the organization. He was considered a finalist for the job along with Flores and Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Smith was considered a late finalist.
“Fair or not, you guys can blame me for taking as long as we did, because everybody was kind of sitting on the end of their chair on pins and needles, but again, my responsibility is to the McNair family, to be as thoughtful and resourceful as possible, and ultimately it’s to just make the right decision for the organization, and that’s where we ended up with Lovie,” Caserio said.
Smith’s hire gives the NFL just two Black head coaches (Mike Tomlin) and five minority head coaches overall, joining Ron Rivera, Robert Saleh and new Miami coach Mike McDaniel, who is multi-racial.
“Well, I don’t know nothing about the lawsuit,” Smith said. “I realize the amount of Black head coaches that are in the National Football League. There’s Mike Tomlin, and I think there’s me. I don’t know of many more. So there’s a problem. … But after there’s a problem, what are you going to do about it? … I always think it comes down to action a little bit. I know one person that wanted to do something about it — it’s just not about the color of your skin or who you wanted leading your program. I know Cal and Hannah (McNair), of course, they said … there’s a problem, this is what we’re gonna do for it. I’m here.”
Smith confirmed that Pep Hamilton will be the Texans’ offensive coordinator and calling the plays while Smith continues to call the defensive plays.
“I understand the problem. I know the Houston Texans are doing something about it to make it better,” Smith said.
–Field Level Media