Ex-Cardinals coach Steve Wilks joins NFL discrimination lawsuit

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 02: Head coach Steve Wilks of the Arizona Cardinals yells during the second half of a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 02, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Image

Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks has joined a lawsuit accusing the NFL of racial discrimination in its hiring practices.

The updated lawsuit in Manhattan federal court added Wilks and Ray Horton, who interviewed for the Tennessee Titans head coaching position in 2016. 

In the lawsuit, Wilks claims he wasn't given a chance to succeed as the head coach in 2018 because of poor decisions made by upper management.

In Wilks' only year as the head coach of the Cardinals, the team finished with a 3-13 record. Wilks was fired at the end of the season.

The Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury as Wilks' replacement before drafting quarterback Kyler Murray with the first pick in the NFL draft in 2019.

In a release from the lawsuit’s attorneys, Wilks said he hoped the lawsuit would help bring racial equality to the league.

"When Coach Flores filed this action, I knew I owed it to myself, and to all Black NFL coaches and aspiring coaches, to stand with him," he said. "This lawsuit has shed further important light on a problem that we all know exists, but that too few are willing to confront. Black coaches and candidates should have exactly the same ability to become employed, and remain employed, as white coaches and candidates."

Horton said he was "devastated and humiliated" when he learned that his interview with the Titans was a sham.

"By joining this case, I am hoping to turn that experience into a positive and make lasting change and create true equal opportunity in the future," he said.

The NFL declined to comment Thursday. Messages sent to the Arizona Cardinals and the Tennessee Titans for comment were not immediately returned.

Flores sued the NFL and three teams on Feb. 1 after he was fired as the Miami Dolphins coach in January after leading the Dolphins to a 24-25 record over three years. They went 9-8 in their second straight winning season but failed to make the playoffs during his tenure.

He has since been hired as an assistant coach by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.

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