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Brian Flores' racial discrimination lawsuit against NFL adds Steve Wilks, Ray Horton

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Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores' lawsuit against the NFL received two new plaintiffs Thursday.

Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks and long-time NFL assistant Ray Horton joined the lawsuit against the league, alleging racial discrimination in the NFL's hiring practices.

Flores filed his lawsuit in February. The suit detailed alleged instances of racial discrimination around the league, with a focus on the New York Giants' hiring of Brian Daboll over Flores.

Horton and Wilks offered up similar instances of alleged discrimination Thursday. Wilks says he was set up by the Cardinals as a "bridge coach" in 2018 and wasn't given a chance to succeed.

Wilks lasted one season in Arizona, going 3-13. Lawyers for Wilks pointed out the team's general manager, Steve Keim, who is white, was arrested for a DUI in 2018 and received a contract extension. The complaint also noted the team turned around and hired Kliff Kingsbury, a coach with no previous NFL experience and a recent history of losing seasons at the college level.

Horton's complaint mirrors Flores' allegation against the Giants. Horton, who interviewed to be the Tennessee Titans' head coach in 2016, cited a podcast interview in which Mike Mularkey, who the team hired, said he was told he had the job before the team satisfied the Rooney rule.

Mularkey said he was sorry to see other coaches prepare so hard for interviews when they had no shot at getting the position. Horton was among the coaches who were interviewed. Mularkey's comments occur around the 25:02 mark in the podcast.

Steve Wilks with the Browns.
Steve Wilks joined Brian Flores' lawsuit against the NFL. (Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

Steve Wilks back in NFL after a season away

Horton and Wilks continued coaching following those incidents, though neither has moved into head coaching roles in the NFL. After being fired by the Cardinals after a 3-13 season, Wilks was the defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns in 2019. After a year away from coaching, he moved to college football in 2021, holding the defensive coordinator position with Missouri. Wilks returned to the NFL in 2022, and will be the secondary/defensive pass game coordinator for the Carolina Panthers next season.

Horton spent the 2016 season as the defensive coordinator for the Browns. He then spent three years out of football, returning to coach the Washington Commanders' defensive backs in 2019. He has not coached in the NFL since 2019.

Brian Flores adds Texans to lawsuit

Flores added another team to his lawsuit Thursday. Flores alleged the Houston Texans discriminated against him after Flores decided to sue the NFL. Flores claims the team took him out of consideration for the head coaching job after he spoke about about systemic racism in the NFL.

The Texans responded to those allegations Thursday, saying they have respect for Flores, but are confident Lovie Smith is the right coach to lead the Texans.

Flores will serve as a defensive assistant with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2022 after going 24-25 with the Dolphins in three seasons.