Giants' John Mara not interested in settling Brian Flores lawsuit
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Giants president and co-owner John Mara said Sunday that he is not interested in reaching a settlement of a lawsuit brought against the NFL and three teams — the Giants, Broncos and Dolphins — by Brian Flores, who is alleging a pattern of racist hiring practices and racial discrimination by the league.
“I’m not settling,” Mara said on the eve of the NFL’s spring meetings. “The allegations [in the lawsuit] are false, and we’re very comfortable with our hiring process.”
Flores was a candidate for the Giants’ head-coaching job that went to former Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. He alleged that the Giants essentially had predetermined that Daboll would get the job, partly because of his relationship with former Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen, who already had been hired as the Giants’ GM.
In his lawsuit, Flores pointed to a text he received from Patriots coach Bill Belichick that mistakenly included congratulations on getting the job. Belichick said he had intended to text Daboll and not Flores, who alleges the Giants reached out to Belichick before the Dolphins’ former coach had been interviewed.
Mara denied that he had reached out to Belichick to tell him Daboll had the job before Flores was interviewed.
“I haven’t spoken or communicated with Bill since we played [the Patriots] in the preseason last summer,” Mara said. “To my knowledge, nobody in our organization communicated with him.”
Mara said he has not discussed the situation with Belichick. “No, why should I?’’ he said. “We made our hiring decisions and we’re happy with that decision. I think the truth [about Flores’ allegations] will come out eventually.”
Mara acknowledged that it was difficult to have his integrity questioned in the lawsuit. “It’s never pleasant,” he said, “but it’s the price of doing business these days. The allegations are false, and we’re very comfortable with our hiring process. It was a fair process, and we ended up making the decision we made based on a lot of factors, none of which had to do with race.”
Mara said the Giants are not actively shopping running back Saquon Barkley, although he said he wouldn’t stand in the way if a deal is made.
“Joe [Schoen] is the general manager, and if he and the head coach want to make a personnel decision and they have a conviction on it, I’m not going to interfere with it,” he said. “But that’s not something that we’re actively looking to do.”
Mara said the team has yet to make a decision about signing quarterback Daniel Jones to a fifth-year option that would keep him through the 2023 season. He did express confidence that the former first-round pick can be a quality long-term player for the Giants.
“I think he’s shown enough when we’ve had the right pieces around him and when we’ve been relatively healthy,” Mara said. “He’s shown enough talent to make us believe that we can win with him. All the problems that we’ve caused for him are because of the lack of continuity and the lack of stability … We just have to keep him healthy and put the right pieces around him.”