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Two more coaches join Brian Flores’s lawsuit against NFL, teams alleging racial discrimination

Two NFL coaches, Steve Wilks and Ray Horton, have been added to the lawsuit of former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores against the league and its teams alleging racial discrimination during its hiring process. 

In an amended complaint filed on Thursday, Wilks, who spent one season as the head football coach of the Arizona Cardinals in 2018, alleged that the team hired him as a “bridge coach” and he wasn’t given a fair chance to succeed during his short tenure with the club. 

Wilks noted that he had to oversee daily team operations without general manager Steve Kiem, who was suspended by the league following a 2018 DUI arrest. 

Wilks, who is now a ​​defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach for the Carolina Panthers, added he was replaced with a white coach, current Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who “has been given a much longer leash than Mr. Wilks and, to his credit, has succeeded,” according to the complaint. 

Horton, who last coached for the Washington Commanders in 2019, alleged that he was subjected to a sham interview by the Tennessee Titans in 2016, stating the team interviewed him to comply with the league’s Rooney Rule “and to demonstrate an appearance of equal opportunity and a false willingness to consider a minority candidate for the position.” 

Horton, who spent two seasons as the Titans’ defensive coordinator, also noted a 2020 podcast interview with former Titans head coach Mike Mularkey in which he said the team officials told him he will be hired for the position after the team completed interviews with two minority head-coaching candidates, the complaint said. 

“Upon information and belief, given that Mr. Mularkey’s remarks and admissions have been publicly available since 2020, the NFL has been aware of them but has not done any investigation into the Titans’ discriminatory conduct and/or failure to comply with the Rooney Rule,” the complaint said. “This shows, yet again, that the NFL is either incapable or unwilling to address the issue of racial discrimination on its own.” 

Mularkey, who was the interim head coach for the Titans in 2015, remained with the team for two more seasons as head coach. 

The NFL has declined to comment at The Hill’s request. 

In response to Flores’s initial lawsuit, the NFL’s newly created Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee announced last month it will establish a requirement for all 32 clubs to hire a female or minority offensive assistant coach for the upcoming season. 

The league recently hired former Justice Department Attorney General Loretta Lynch as counsel for Flores’s lawsuit against it. 

Flores, who was recently hired as a senior defensive assistant for the Pittsburgh Steelers, added to his complaint that he sent a memo to the Dolphins’ front office personnel in December 2019 detailing “the toxicity that existed within the organization and explained the unreasonable position he was being placed in by the team ownership and upper management.” 

Flores alleged in his prior complaint that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross attempted to pay him more to purposely lose games during the 2019 season, with Ross offering him $100,000 for every loss that year.

Tags Arizona Cardinals Arizona Cardinals Brian Flores Brian Flores Brian Flores lawsuit class-action lawsuit class-action lawsuit Miami Dolphins NFL NFL NFL Racial discrimination Ray Horton Steve Wilks Tennessee Titans Tennessee Titans
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