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Judge sends racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL and Arizona Cardinals to arbitration

Published: Thursday, March 2, 2023 - 4:18pm
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Claims of racial discrimination in a lawsuit by a Black football coach against the NFL and the Arizona Cardinals won’t go directly to a jury.

A federal judge in New York has sent to arbitration the case brought last April by Steve Wilks.

The decision is a win for the Cardinals and owner Michael Bidwill.

A team spokesman did not comment.

Wilks claims he was wrongfully fired after one season as head coach. Wilks has alleged that he was treated differently than the white general manager who was convicted of DUI and kept his job.

District Judge Valerie Caproni writes that Wilks agreed in his contract to arbitrate all disputes with the Cardinals, and the NFL commissioner is the arbitrator.

Caproni notes that ordering arbitration creates a risk for a biased result. But the judge retains the power to throw out the commissioner’s decision.

Race + Diversity