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NFL hires former AG Loretta Lynch to handle its racial discrimination suit

The NFL has hired former Attorney General Loretta Lynch to defend the League in the racial discrimination lawsuit filed against it by former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores.

Sources told Bloomberg Law Wednesday that Lynch had been tapped to serve as counsel on the case in addition to Brad Karp, the chair of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Lynch is a partner in the New York-based firm's Washington, D.C., office.

In an emailed statement to NPR, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy confirmed the league's hiring of Lynch — saying that both she and Brad Karp will lead the defense.

"The league retained the Paul Weiss firm to represent the league and named clubs," McCarthy said.

Flores' suit also names the Denver Broncos, New York Giants and the Dolphins along with the NFL as defendants.

Before joining Paul Weiss in 2019, Lynch ran the Department of Justice under the Obama administration for two years.

The former attorney general was tapped in 2020 by the NFL to work on an inquiry into claims of workplace misconduct involving the then-Washington Football Team.

The NFL and the Paul Weiss law firm have had a longstanding relationship since 2007, as the firm is responsible for 25% of all cases involving the league in federal courts, according to data from Bloomberg Law.

Additionally, Karp has handled the NFL's concussion and benefits litigation. Karp currently leads the Wall Street firm, which according to reports, is amongst the most profitable in the U.S.

Earlier this month, Flores filed a 58-page class-action lawsuit against the NFL and the three teams for alleged racial discrimination.

Flores, who has more than a decade of coaching experience in the NFL, was fired as the Dolphins' head coach in early January after three years despite having signed a five-year contract with the team, according to the Pro Football Network. Flores charges that race was at the center of his removal from his position with the Dolphins, a problem that he says is endemic in the NFL.

In response, the NFL released a statementsaying it will defend "against these claims, which are without merit."

"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," the NFL said.

NPR has compiled a list of stories, performances and other content that chronicles the Black American experience for Black History Month. See the whole collection here.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jonathan Franklin
Jonathan Franklin is a digital reporter on the News desk covering general assignment and breaking national news.
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