April 7, 2022
EEP Law and Wigdor Law, represent Brian Flores in connection with his race discrimination class action against the NFL and various teams.
Read the amended complaint here. Among other things, the amended complaint, which is 100 pages long, adds two new plaintiffs – Coaches Steve Wilks and Ray Horton.
As alleged in the amended complaint, in 2018 Mr. Wilks was discriminated against by the Arizona Cardinals in a manner consistent with the experiences of many Black coaches. Mr. Wilks was hired as a “bridge coach” and was not given any meaningful chance to succeed. He was unfairly and discriminatorily fired after just one season. His white GM, who made poor personnel decisions and was convicted for a DUI during the offseason, was given a contract extension. Mr. Wilks was replaced by a white coach, Kliff Kingsbury, who had no prior NFL coaching experience and was coming off multiple losing seasons as a Head Coach at Texas Tech. Mr. Kingsbury, armed with quarterback Kyler Murray, has been given a much longer leash than Mr. Wilks and, to his credit, has succeeded. That said, Mr. Wilks, given the same opportunity afforded to Mr.Kingsbury, surely would have succeeded as well. The allegations pertaining specifically to Mr. Wilks are located at ¶¶ 227-263 of the amended complaint.
Mr. Flores and Mr. Wilks are joined by Mr. Horton. Mr. Horton was a long time NFL coach and Defensive Coordinator when he was interviewed for the Tennessee Titans Head Coach position in January 2016. This turned out to be a completely sham interview done only to comply with the Rooney Rule and to demonstrate an appearance of equal opportunity and a false willingness to consider a minority candidate for the position. Indeed, the Titans’ all-white ownership and management ultimately hired Mike Mularkey, a white candidate, for the Head Coach position. Years later, in 2020, Mr. Mularkey admitted in a podcast interview that the Titans, “[T]old me I was going to be the head coach in 2016, before they went through the Rooney rule. And so I sat there knowing I was the head coach in 2016, as they went through this fake hiring process knowing, knowing a lot of the coaches that they were interviewing, knowing how much they prepared to go through those interviews, knowing that everything they could do and they had no chance to get that job.” The allegations pertaining specifically to Mr. Horton are located at ¶¶ 264-284 of the amended complaint. Listen to the podcast at 25:02.
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