On Tuesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news that Arizona Cardinals owner, Michael Bidwill, has been accused of cheating, discrimination, and harassment by a former Cardinals executive, Terry McDonough. The allegations came from an arbitration claim filed by McDonough on Tuesday to NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell. Shortly after, Cardinals’ external public relations adviser, Jim McCarthy, fervently denied the allegations and called them “widely false, reckless, and an opportunistic ploy for financial gain.”
The allegations set forth by McDonough relate to the pressure he and then Cardinals’ head coach, Steve Wilks, were allegedly under to use burner phones to communicate with the former team General Manager, Steve Keim, who recently plead guilty to extreme DUI in Arizona, stemming from a 2018 arrest. Keim was subsequently suspended by the team, fined $200,000, and required to attend counseling. During Keim’s five-week suspension, the team and team executives were not supposed to have contact with Keim, yet Bidwill required Wilkes and McDonough to communicate with him through burner phones, to which both refused. Bidwill then publicly reprimanded and openly criticized McDonough and said he was going to write him up. It's important to note that Bidiwll demoted McDonough in 2019. McDonough is essentially claiming retaliation by Bidwill in his complaints, alleging that the demotion was due to his refusal to be a part of the scheme in handling Steve Keim’s suspension. Steve Wilks sued the NFL in 2022 in a class action racial discrimination suit.
It will be interesting to see how Bidwill and the team respond in the coming days and whether there is any truth to the allegations and if so how much. Bidwill is not the only Arizona professional sports owner to come under fire, as former Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury owner, Robert Sarver, recently sold both franchises, almost forcibly, amid allegations of sexism, racism, and creating a hostile working environment. These allegations also come at a time when Washington Commanders owner, Dan Snyder, is in the process of selling the team after years of allegations, Congressional hearings, and public pressure. Will the allegations against Bidwill be enough to also force him to sell?
Duncan can be found on Twitter @dunkuno