Two football coaches have signed their names to Brian Flores’ lawsuit, which alleges racial discrimination against the New York Giants, along with the NFL and a handful of other teams.
Steve Wilks, who previously coached the Arizona Cardinals in 2018, and longtime NFl assistant coach Ray Horton, who are both Black, both joined the high-profile lawsuit on Thursday, saying they were discriminated against by NFL teams because of their race.
“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,” Wilks said in a statement. “Black coaches and candidates should have exactly the same ability to become employed, and remain employed, as white coaches and candidates. That is not currently the case.”
Meanwhile, Horton claims the Tennessee Titans granted him a “sham” interview, which the team conducted to comply with the “Rooney Rule” that requires teams to interview a person of color for a coaching or front office position.
According to the allegations, the Titans had already promised the head coaching job to Mike Mularkey, who had been serving as the interim-coach at the time.
“When I learned from Coach Mularkey’s statements that my head coach interview with the Titans was a sham, I was devastated and humiliated,” Horton said. “By joining this case, I am hoping to turn that experience into a positive and make lasting change.”
Flores filed the lawsuit, which has now expanded to be against the Giants — along with the Miami Dolphins, the Denver Broncos, the Houston Texans, the Titans and the Cardinals, in addition to the league — after New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick texted Flores days before to his Giants interview, saying that the G-men were planning to give the job to Brian Daboll, who had formerly coach the Buffalo Bills defense.
The Giants did give the job to Daboll, but denied having made the decision prior to their interview with Flores.
“After we interviewed six exceptional and diverse candidates, the decision on who we would hire as head coach was made on the evening of January 28, one day after Mr. Flores spent an entire day in our offices going through his second interview for the position,” the Giants said in a statement.
Flores lost his head coaching job in Miami after 3 years, with many NFL insiders left scratching their heads at the decision, as the team routinely outperformed expectations, and secured winning records in the past two years.
Flores now serves as senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers
Now, the ongoing litigation has given a new black-eye to the NFL, and, with Wilks and Horton joining the lawsuit, the coming months of court battles look grim for the league.