Two Black Coaches Add To Brian Flores' Discrimination Lawsuit Against NFL

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Two more Black coaches have joined forces with Former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores to sue the NFL for discriminatory practices.

As of Thursday (April 7), Steve Wilks, former Arizona Cardinals head coach, and Ray Horton, former defensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans, are now named in the class-action lawsuit accusing the league of phony diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

After Wilks led the Cardinals to a 3-13 finish in 2018, he was fired and replaced by the current head Kliff Kingsbury, a white man who had no prior NFL coaching experience. With Kingsbury as the coach, the Cardinals have become playoff contenders largely in part to star quarterback Kyler Murray.

According to Flores’ updated discrimination lawsuit, Wilks merely acted as a “bridge coach” for the Arizona Cardinals and wasn’t “given any meaningful chance to succeed.”

The lawsuit states that if "Mr. Wilks, given the same opportunity afforded to Mr. Kingsbury, surely would have succeeded as well."

When Horton was the defensive coordinator of the Titans, he allegedly was put through a fake interview for the head coaching position that opened up in 2016. Horton claims the Titans were simply trying to satisfy the Rooney Rule, NFL’s requirement to interview minorities for head positions. 

The amended lawsuit notes that Horton received the Titan’s interview request last minute and with little notice, requiring him to board a late-night red-eye to Nashville. However, after Horton’s rushed interview, Tennessee announced that the Titans' interim head coach Mike Mularkey had earned the permanent position.

"Mr. Mularkey admitted that he knew the job was his before he was interviewed and that the minority candidates interviewed as part of the process were subjected to sham interviews ... in order to comply with the Rooney Rule and/or create an appearance of a non-discriminatory process," according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit continues, "As Mr. Horton now understands, the rush to interview him was an orchestrated attempt to make it appear that the Titans had complied with the Rooney Rule and otherwise appear to have given an equal opportunity to Black candidates so the team could announce the pre-made decision."

In a statement on Thursday, the Cardinals commented on Wilks’ discrimination accusations. 

“The decisions we made after the 2018 season were very difficult ones,” Arizona said. “But as we said at the time, they were entirely driven by what was in the best interests of our organization and necessary for team improvement. We are confident that the facts reflect that and demonstrate that these allegations are untrue.”

Titans have currently declined to comment on the claims Horton made in the lawsuit, according to NBC News

This comes as the NFL continues to face heat for its questionable hiring practices. Flores first filed a discrimination lawsuit against the league when he was shockingly fired from the Miami Dolphins.

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