Steve Wilks’ ‘shocked and disturbed’ lawyers claim there is a ‘legitimate race problem in the NFL’
Steve Wilks’ ‘shocked and disturbed’ lawyers claim there is a ‘legitimate race problem in the NFL’ after he is overlooked for Panthers head coaching job… as interim coach says he’s ‘disappointed but not defeated’ after Frank Reich hire
The lawyers of Steve Wilks have been left ‘shocked and disturbed’ after he was overlooked for the Carolina Panthers head coach job.
Wilks, 53, took over as interim coach when Matt Rhule was fired – the Panthers then had a dismal 1-4 record.
Despite going 6-6 in his 12 games in charge Wilks was overlooked for the job in favor of Frank Reich and his lawyers believe that highlights a ‘legitimate race problem in the NFL’.
Steve Wilks is frustrated at having been overlooked for Carolina Panthers head coaching job
He released a statement on his social media saying he is ‘disappointed but not defeated’
‘We are shocked and disturbed that after the incredible job, Coach Wilks did as the interim coach, including bringing the team back into playoff contention and garnering the support of the players and fans that he was passed over for the head coach position by David Tepper,’ lawyers Douglas Wigdor and John Elefterakis said in a statement, carried by Front Office Sports.
‘There is a legitimate race problem in the NFL, and we can assure you that we will have more to say in the coming days.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to the Panthers for comment.
Carolina showed real improvement under Wilks’ tenure and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles was among his peers eager to see him rewarded on a permanent basis.
The Panthers have hired Frank Reich, who was fired by the Indianapolis Colts this season
Wilks only previous experience as a head coach came in one season with Arizona in 2018.
Reich, the former Indianapolis Colts coach, returns to the Panthers, for whom he threw the first touchdown pass in franchise history in 1995.
‘The sun rose this morning and by the grace of God so did I,’ Wilks wrote. ‘I’m disappointed but not defeated. Many people aren’t built for this but I know what it means to persevere and see it through.
‘It was an honor for me to coach those men in the Carolina Panthers locker room as the interim head coach.
‘Players, coaches and staff, thank you for your hard work and dedication. I took pride in representing Charlotte, a great city that I love so much.
‘Thank you to my family, friends and the community for your overwhelming support.
‘I do wish Frank Reich all the best. I will always be a fan of the Carolina Panthers Football Team.’
Wilks’ lawyers have claimed there is a ‘legitimate race problem in the NFL’ when hiring coaches
Wilks is being represented by Wigdor in a racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL, after joining forces with former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores.
The NFL has tried to move the case into arbitration.
‘Mr. Wilks has also taken the courageous step forward to oppose the NFL’s systemic discrimination,’ attorneys for Wilks, Flores and other involved plaintiffs wrote in April’s amended complaint.
‘Mr. Wilks was discriminated against by the Arizona Cardinals in a manner consistent with the experiences of many Black coaches.’
As part of the lawsuit Flores, who the Dolphins fired in 2021, called his interview with the New York Giants ‘a completely sham interview done only to comply with the Rooney Rule.’
The Rooney Rule, adopted by the NFL in 2003, requires every team to interview at least two external minority candidates for open head coaching positions and at least one external minority candidate for a coordinator job.
In 2022 it was broadened out to require teams to conduct outside interviews with a minority and/or female candidate for vacant QB coach positions.