When Panthers owner David Tepper made Steve Wilks the interim head coach on October 10, Tepper was asked whether Wilks had a shot to keep the job beyond 2022.
“If he does an incredible job, he has to be in consideration,” Tepper said.
Wilks arguably did an incredible job. He forced the team into playoff contention. He won the loyalty, admiration, and respect of his players. Players spoke up in his favor.
Now, the team that fired its head coach during the season has hired a coach who was fired by another team during the season, instead of Wilks. And Doug Wigdor, who represents Wilks in the pending Brian Flores racial discrimination case against the league and several teams, has made it clear that Wigdor and Wilks have a problem with the move.
“We are shocked and disturbed that after the incredible job Coach Wilks did as the interim coach, including bringing the team back into playoff contention and garnering the support of the players and fans, that he was passed over for the head coach position by David Tepper,” Wigdor said in a statement that was both circulated by email and tweeted. “There is a legitimate race problem in the NFL, and we can assure you that we will have more to say in the coming days.”
This clearly implies that the Panthers could soon be added to the pending lawsuit as yet another defendant, for not giving Wilks a chance to do from scratch that which he was able to do after Tepper tasked Wilks with the inherently difficult position of trying to win with a team that was bad enough to get its coach fired less than a month into the season.