Ex-Cardinals Exec Accuses Michael Bidwill of Cheating, Misconduct

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Former Arizona Cardinals vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough filed an arbitration claim with the NFL accusing Michael Bidwill of gross misconduct that includes cheating, discrimination and harassment. This was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

In the report, McDonough claims the he and former head coach Steve Wilks were “left with no choice” but to use burner phones to communicate with Steve Keim, who was suspended due to a DUI, at the direction of Bidwill. 

Wilks was fired after the 2018 season where the Cardinals went 3-13. 

At the news conference to announce the firing of Wilks, Bidwill said, “I didn’t get it right” while Keim said, “We’re all held accountable.”

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

Schefter’s report continues:

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 the hallmark of his stewardship of the storied Cardinals franchise.”

McDonough said in his filing that Bidwill had treated a Black employee and two pregnant women poorly and “created an environment of fear for minority employees.” The filing did not include specifics on either alleged incident.

External public relations adviser to the Cardinals Jim McCarthy released a statement that objects to the arbitration claim.

“We are reluctantly obliged to provide a public response along with broader context for some disappointing and irresponsible actions by Terry McDonough. Claims he has made in an arbitration filing are wildly false, reckless, and an opportunistic ploy for financial gain.”

“Our position was consistent with many efforts we’ve made to accommodate Terry during his time with the team, despite difficulties in his personal life and his often volatile demeanor toward colleagues,” the statement from McCarthy said. “That’s why we are saddened to see that Terry is now lashing out at our organization with disparagements and threats that are absurdly at odds with the facts. This unnecessary and vindictive action by Terry was intended to malign his co-workers, our owner Michael Bidwill, and our team with outlandish accusations.”

According to ESPN’s report, the grievance alleged “Bidwill’s widespread workplace misconduct is significantly worse than the misbehavior of former crosstown Phoenix Suns owner Rober Sarver.”

The Cardinals have 20 days to respond to these claims. Commissioner Goodell “shall determine whether the dispute is football-oriented … or not football oriented” and if the claim is subject to arbitration.