By Mardeio Cannon | OBSERVER Columnist

Add Brian Flores to a very small list that includes Curt Flood, Muhammad Ali and Colin Kaepernick. These athletes put their careers on the line and it cost them years of their prime to fight for freedom for the professional athlete and for racial justice. 

Curt Flood: He sued Major League Baseball for the right to become a free agent that cost him his career; however, he finally won his case almost too late to revive his major league career. Because of Flood, the modern-day professional athlete can file to become a free agent and release his lifetime bondage to a team.

Muhammad Ali: He became a conscientious objector by refusing induction to the Army because of his personal belief that the war in Vietnam was immoral. He was jailed and his boxing titles were taken from him because of his stance. The Supreme Court ordered that he be released from jail and Ali returned to his boxing career where he regained his titles and his fame and fortune made him a worldwide idol.

Colin Kaepernick: After leading the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013, Kaepernick started kneeling during the playing of the national anthem before the start of the games to protest injustices against Blacks at the hands of law enforcement. As you all know, after his kneeling, Kaepernick could not get another job in the NFL to continue his career as a quarterback.

Brian Flores, as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, rebounded from a slow start this past season and his team rallied to win seven out of their last eight games. Flores’ team was not blessed with a franchise quarterback, a necessary ingredient for a winning team in the NFL. However, that wasn’t enough to save his job and he was fired by owner Steven Ross. Flores’ firing left the NFL with only ONE African American head coach: Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Because of his strong resume, most experts expected Flores to be one the first head coaches to be hired this off season. However, the phoniest of NFL owners was exposed when New England’s Patriots head coach, Bill Bellichek mistakenly texted the wrong Brian on landing the New York Giants head coaching job. Flores was still scheduled to be interviewed by the Giants-THREE days later.

To his credit, Flores still went on the interview knowing that the job had gone to another white coach.