Former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores’ discrimination lawsuit against the NFL continues to gain steam, as two more Black coaches have been added to the suit, alleging that they were also treated in a discriminatory manner by the league. Steve Wilks, a former head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, and Ray Horton, a defensive backs coach for the team now known as the Washington Commanders, have joined the suit, which was filed by Flores in February after being passed over for a coaching job with the New York Giants.
Wilks, the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals in 2018, claims that he was not given a fair shot during his stint coaching the team. Serving as the Cardinals’ head coach for one season, Wilks was fired by the organization after finishing 3–13, however, he claims that his tenure with the Cardinals was a ruse and that he was hired merely as a “bridge coach” and “not given any meaningful chance to succeed,” according to Flores’ amended lawsuit. “Mr. Wilks, given the same opportunity afforded to Mr. Kingsbury, surely would have succeeded as well,” the lawsuit also suggests.
In the case of Horton, the lawsuit claims that he was offered an interview under hurried and inconvenient circumstances by the Tennessee Titans in order to fulfill their Rooney Rule obligations, which requires each NFL organization to interview one minority candidate whenever they have a head coaching vacancy. Horton was told by the team to take a flight to Tennessee to meet with the Titans’ controlling owner, who rushed through the interview in order to make time to travel for a personal engagement, just hours after being offered the opportunity.
“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.”
A former coach of the Miami Dolphins, Flores was fired after coaching the team for three seasons despite being the first Dolphins head coach to record back-to-back winning seasons with the organization since 2003. He filed a lawsuit against the Denver Broncos, New York Giants, and Miami Dolphins, and the league as a whole claiming discrimination in the NFL’s hiring and firing processes, particularly pertaining to minorities.
Flores has since been hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers as senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach.