According to the NCLR website, "The Roberto Clemente Award for Sports Excellence, named in honor of the athlete considered by many to be the greatest outfielder in baseball, is presented by the NCLR Board of Directors each year to…a sports professional who has found ways to positively portray Hispanic Americans and bring awareness and solutions to issues that affect contemporary Hispanic America."
Flores was the first Hispanic to be named an NFL head coach when owner Al Davis promoted him to Raider field general in 1979. He went on to lead the Silver and Black to two World Championships of Professional Football with wins in Super Bowls XV and XVIII. Flores also owns a Super Bowl ring as an assistant coach while on John Madden's 1976 Raider staff that posted a win in Super Bowl XI and as a player for Kansas City when Chiefs scored a win in Super Bowl IV. He played quarterback for the Raiders from 1960-61 and from 1963-66.
Flores has been involved in the community for over 25 years. He started a foundation in his hometown of Sanger, Calif., that helps enhance the education system. "We give money every year, on a three-year rotation, one year is to science, one year is to sports, and one year is to fine arts, and that's to the 14 kindergarten to 8th grades in the Sanger Unified School District," explained Flores. "We have fundraisers for them and have an annual golf tournament. A lot of times when I go out and speak and receive an honorarium, I have the proceeds of that signed over to the foundation. The Sanger community has been very good to me and it's where my roots are and I've always felt that way."
Throughout his career as a player and a coach, Flores felt he was put in a position to give back, set an example, and lead the way. "I had a tournament in Los Angeles that I started when we were down there and that went on for 25 years," said Flores. "It was for the 'Scouts with disAbilities' program in the Los Angeles Boy Scout system. In that time we raised over $3.5 million so that was something we were able to give back to the community and it's all directed to the Scouts, which is kind of neat."
For his work and the example he has set for the Hispanic community, Flores' friend and former board member, Joe Ortiz, nominated him for the Roberto Clemente Award for Sports Excellence. Receiving the award is an honor for Flores. "Roberto Clemente was an incredible person, human being, humanitarian, and philanthropist," said Flores. "He talked about giving back and he gave back through his whole career. He was born in Puerto Rico and played with the Pittsburgh Pirates his entire career. He was killed in a plane crash when he was delivering goods to a country in need. He was the epitome of what it means to give back and he was so highly respected so it means a lot."
The Oakland Raiders have always been at the forefront of a Commitment to Diversity and Flores was a large piece of that dedication. "That means you're giving back, you're giving to the community, you're helping the community," said Flores. "It's not all about Sundays. There are a lot of things that need to be done in our world, in our communities, and some people have the responsibility and others don't do anything about it, but the Raiders have always felt they should do something about it."
His Commitment to Excellence with the Raiders organization and in the community exemplifies the true meaning of the Roberto Clemente Award.