Steve Wilks confirms burner-phone communications with Steve Keim during his 2018 suspension

The Cardinals have a problem.

Former head coach Steve Wilks has confirmed in sworn testimony that he was told to communicate with suspended G.M. Steve Keim via burner phone during Keim's 2018 suspension for drunk driving.

According to Tisha Thompson of, Wilks testified that he received a directive both from Keim and owner Michael Bidwill to remain in contact with Keim when Keim was technically off limits. Wilks also said that Bidwill and other executives communicated with Keim throughout his suspension.

The testimony came in the arbitration case filed by former Cardinals executive Terry McDonough, who alleged that Bidwill directed McDonough and Wilks to remain in contact with Keim.

"As much as we would like to share the truth of what transpired, the confidentiality order in place prohibits us from doing so," the Cardinals said in a statement issued to

Thompson points out that Wilks has not yet been questioned by Cardinals attorneys. But, frankly, what are they going to do? Badger him until he says he was lying?

Wilks, who is currently the 49ers defensive coordinator, said he only used his burner phone once to contact Keim, in response to a question regarding how things were going at practice.

"With me being a first-year head coach, I felt uncomfortable from the beginning that I worked this hard to get to this plateau and this opportunity, and then I was presented with this situation with being unethical," Wilks said.

Wilks has his own lawsuit against the Cardinals, alleging racial bias in the decision to fire him (and not Keim) after a disastrous 2018 season.

The Cardinals have not denied that burner phones were used. They have strongly denied that Bidwill directed it or even knew about it, and that once Bidwill became aware he ordered the phones to be retrieved.

Wilks contradicted this assertion.

"No one retrieved the burner phones until Keim came back, so it wasn't swift," Wilks said, adding that the phones were gathered only after Keim "was back in the building."

Wilks also said that Bidwill berated the coach on multiple occasions during his only year on the job. Wilks testified that, while driving home after one game with his nine-year-old son, Wilks called Bidwill.

"As soon as he picked up, it was just cuss words and how embarrassed he was about the game and can't really, you know, bring friends or take anybody in the box," Wilks said. His son later asked, "Daddy, why is that guy talking to you like that?"

The league has remained quiet about McDonough's allegations against Bidwill. If/when the story gains enough traction, Mary Jo White could be hired to perform an investigation regarding Bidwill's on-the-job behavior. If that ever occurs, anything can happen next.