Ex-Cardinals VP Terry McDonough accuses owner of cheating

Ex-Cardinals VP Terry McDonough accuses owner of cheating

Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill is accused of misconduct, including fraud, discrimination and harassment, in an arbitration request filed Tuesday by former Cardinals executive Terry McDonough with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

McDonough claimed that he and former Cardinals coach Steve Wilks were left with no choice but to follow Bidwill’s plan to use flash phones to communicate with former Arizona general manager Steve Keim while Keim was suffering a five-week suspension after pleading guilty to extreme DUI in Arizona.

McDonough said he still has the phone, which he said contains evidence of the cheating scandal, as well as additional documentation.

In a detailed response sent to ESPN, the Cardinals vehemently denied the allegations, calling them “outrageous.”

“We are reluctantly forced to provide a public response along with some broader context to some disappointing and irresponsible actions by Terry McDonough,” Cardinals external public relations counsel Jim McCarthy said in a statement. “The claims he has made in an arbitration filing are extremely false, reckless and an opportunistic ploy for financial gain.

“Our position was consistent with the many efforts we made to accommodate Terry during his time with the team, despite the difficulties in his personal life and his often erratic behavior toward colleagues,” McCarthy’s statement said. “That is why we are saddened to see that Terry is now attacking our organization with slurs and threats that are absurd and contrary to the facts. This unnecessary and vindictive action by Terry was intended to curse his associates, our owner Michael Bidwill. , and our team with strange charges.”

“In response to McDonough’s objection to the illegal ignition phone scheme, Bidwill cursed, berated and formally reprimanded McDonough and ultimately demoted him—irreversibly damaging the trajectory of McDonough’s 34-year National League career. Football”. Terry McDonough Arbitration Claim

In the filing, McDonough said he and Wilks “objected to and sought to avoid participating in a scheme devised by Bidwill to use flash phones to communicate with general manager Steve Keim — in violation of the terms of Keim’s DUI suspension extreme — during a critical stretch of Cardinals training camp in the summer of 2018.

“In response to McDonough’s objection to the illegal phone tapping scheme, Bidwill berated, berated, and formally reprimanded McDonough, and ultimately demoted him—irreversibly damaging the trajectory of McDonough’s 34-year career in the National Football League. Bidwill was also subjected to harassment, taunting, bullying and abusive behavior.”

The affidavit said that a day after McDonough told Bidwill that neither he nor Wilks wanted to communicate with Keim during the suspension, Bidwill called him into his office and wrote him up for “insubordination.” McDonough also accused Bidwill of sabotaging Wilks’ first chance as an NFL head coach before firing him at the end of one season in the job. McDonough said Bidwill has continued to “belittle and harass” her since the summer of 2018.

The Cardinals told ESPN that another executive “had interfered with the protocol of that suspension” and that the team had taken “additional measures.” He also said that Bidwill took “swift action” and instructed that the phones be seized and “communications stopped”.

McDonough is the son of legendary Boston Globe reporter Will McDonough and the brother of ESPN broadcaster Sean McDonough. He was the vice president of player personnel for the Cardinals from 2014 to 2019. In 2017, he was a finalist for the position of general manager of the San Francisco 49ers, along with John Lynch and George Paton, the current general managers of the 49ers and Denver Broncos.

In the lawsuit, McDonough said opportunities for NFL advancement disappeared after his refusal to go along with Bidwill. McDonough is seeking damages for breach of contract and emotional distress.

The Cardinals have 20 days to respond to McDonough’s claims under the NFL’s dispute resolution procedural guidelines. Goodell will then “determine whether the dispute is football-oriented … or non-football-oriented” and whether the dispute is subject to arbitration.

If so, “The Commissioner shall conduct the arbitration in a manner designed to achieve a just and expeditious result, consistent with the circumstances of the particular dispute.”

The NFL said Tuesday, “We can confirm receipt of the request which will be handled according to the league’s arbitration procedures.” Wilks declined to comment.

“We are saddened to see that Terry is now attacking our organization with insults and threats that are absurd and contrary to the facts. This unnecessary and vindictive action by Terry was intended to mistreat his co-workers, our owner Michael Bidwill, and the team our with outlandish allegations.” Jim McCarthy, Cardinals outside public relations counsel

The Cardinals denied blocking McDonough’s professional career, citing “praise to Mr. Bidwill, particularly for the extensive support and encouragement Terry has received,” and said the team’s staff had “consistently encouraged and facilitated Terry’s desire to continue to advance his career”.

McDonough said he wants to prevent Bidwill from treating people the way he said he was treated, and that he believes he is giving voice to a group of Cardinals employees too scared to speak out against Bidwill. He called his treatment “consistent with a pattern of workplace misconduct by Bidwill that is endemic and a hallmark of his stewardship of the storied Cardinals franchise.”

McDonough said in his filing that Bidwill mistreated a black employee and two pregnant women and “created an environment of fear for minority employees.” The file did not include details of any of the alleged incidents.

The Cardinals, citing a time when McDonough and Bidwill had met with free-agent players, said Bidwill had no racial animus and called McDonough’s claim “a transparent smear that is truly contemptible.”

“It should be noted that our owner’s long history of promoting racial diversity and equity within our team and the League makes this allegation particularly abhorrent,” the Cardinals said in their statement.

The complaint also said Bidwill reduced two pregnant women — one five months pregnant, the other seven months — to tears after yelling “abusive and harassing abuse.”

McDonough said he has evidence that in 2019, top Cardinals executives decided to conduct an employee engagement survey with all of their employees, only to see Bidwill intercept the survey results and cancel it.

“Many of the employees who responded to the survey indicated that they feared Bidwill on a daily basis as a result of Bidwill’s erratic and often abusive interactions with them,” the filing states.

The Cardinals responded by saying that “the 2019 employee survey referenced in the complaint was not ignored, but in fact formed the basis for significant improvements in our workplace practices. This included the creation of a new role for a Chief of People along with growing our Human Resources staff and adding robust employee health initiatives.”

The complaint that McDonough filed with Bidwill’s attorney last week and Goodell on Tuesday alleged that Bidwill’s “pervasive conduct in the workplace is significantly worse than the misconduct of former Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver,” whom the NBA suspended one year and fined him $10 million before he was sentenced. sold the franchise.

Bidwill fired Wilks after the 2018 season, when the team finished 3-13. At the press conference to announce Wilks’ firing, Bidwill said, “I didn’t get it right,” while Keim said, “We’re all responsible.”

The complaint said: “The passage of time and exposure of the facts have revealed those comments to be almost perverse in their inaccuracy, misdirection and gaslighting nature. Steve Wilks has shown that he is a capable NFL coach when he is not forced to cheat and given an opportunity to succeed. And contrary to Keim’s statement, neither he nor Bidwill have ever been held accountable for their illegal actions during the 2018 preseason.”

The complaint said Wilks recently joined a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by former head coach Brian Flores against the NFL and its teams, with Wilks claiming he was hired by Bidwill only to serve as a “bridge coach” without being given the opportunity to . to succeed and that he was “the fall guy for the failures attributed mainly to Keim”.

The cardinals also described a number of incidents they say were in “violation of our guidelines and mutual trust in our workplace.” They say McDonough was unruly and clashed with co-workers.

“If an arbitration proceeding results, we would welcome the opportunity to set the record straight in that forum and demonstrate how these claims have absolutely no validity or solid basis.”

“Unfortunately, it appears the Cardinals will defend this case through dishonest character assassination,” McDonough attorney Mike Caspino said in response to the Cardinals. “I can’t wait to arbitrate this case and the truth will come out.”

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