Panthers’ recent hire of Frank Reich’s daughter could become an issue in Steve Wilks’ litigation

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After the Panthers hired Frank Reich to be the team’s next head coach, the lawyer representing former interim coach Steve Wilks strongly implied that the Panthers will be added to the pending litigation against the NFL and multiple teams over racial discrimination in hiring practices.

For Wilks, the argument would be both that racial bias infected the process and that the Panthers shied away from Wilks at least in part because of the fact that he has sued the Cardinals for racial discrimination.

Here’s a fact that will become an issue in the inevitable discovery process once Wilks adds the Panthers as a defendant: as of January 8, roughly 90 minutes after the team’s regular season ended, Reich’s daughter announced that she officially had become an employee of the Panthers.

There’s nothing wrong with that fact, in isolation. Nepotism is already rampant in the NFL. And it wasn’t even nepotism if Reich wasn’t the coach when she was hired.

That said, Wilks and his lawyers will want to explore whether and to what extent it was known that Frank Reich was destined to become the head coach when his daughter was offered and/or accepted the job. Was it a done deal, a fait accompli, that the Panthers were hiring Frank Reich to be the coach when the Panthers hired Reich’s daughter?

It will require a careful review of the electronic paper trail (emails, texts, etc.) along with questioning of those involved in the process. The argument will be, if the facts support the notion that it was Reich all along, that the interview process was a sham.

That’s one of the major themes of the entire litigation, that Rooney Rule compliance occurs simply as a matter of perfunctory box-checking, and that as a result worthless and pointless interviews occur at a time when the owner already knows what the owner plans to do.

That’s what makes the hiring of Reich’s daughter relevant. When she was offered the job, did the team already know that Reich would be the next head coach?

If the answer is no, it’s just another issue that was explored as part of a lawsuit. If the answer is yes, any claim Wilks may make against the Panthers suddenly becomes stronger.

11 responses to “Panthers’ recent hire of Frank Reich’s daughter could become an issue in Steve Wilks’ litigation

  1. The Bucs scared of firing one of THE WORST HC in the NFL starts to make more since as these stories come out….

  2. Tepper has not raised the bar of owner integrity in his short time in the ranks.

    Another man with lots more money than character.

  3. Best of luck to both of them. Mr. Reich has more experience, and if they draft/trade for a quarterback, is known as a guru for that position.
    Is there still bias against black head coaches in the nfl? Mr. Wilks had a strong case for the job. He got a lot more out of those players than his predecessor did, even after trading the star running back.

  4. It’s become such a fiasco when a coaches son, daughter, brother, or family dog becomes part of the coaches franchise. An owner should be able to hire who they want, when they want. They’re the ones putting their money on the line every yr.

  5. What job did she get and why did she feel the need to announce it on Twitter right after the season ended??? Peter King made a comment that the Panthers could say they wanted a Offensive minded coach to develop a QB. Why couldn’t they have hired Wilks and made Frank the OC or QB coach to help develop a young QB instead of being a HC with lots of other things to focus on???

  6. Is there some Rule that states you are not allowed as an Owner or GM to have a clear favorite/front runner candidate for your vacant HC position ? The answer is no. No rule prohibits this. Minus a secret, behind closed door, legally binding signed contract by Reich prior to other candidates being interviewed this argument has no merit. So as long as the HC vacancy was still legally vacant with no contract signed by anyone, Wilks and anyone else had a shot at becoming the HC and or removing the interim tag. Like it or not a HC race that consists of say 3 candidates that are in a 90%, 5%, 5% split in a likely to be hired scenario in the mind of an owner, it is still very much a fair competition, it’s not a sham interview for the other 2 so as long as the opportunity exists to have the interview of your life & impress like no other, you at 5% can be hired. Underdogs win some of the time. A fair competition and an even competition are not close to being the same thing. Fair is all anyone can expect and Wilks was given a fair shot.

  7. The fact that there are, and have been, persons of color as HC’s, position coaches, NFL executives, etc., is proof positive the whole of the NFL is not racist. That one owner or three may be is something NOBODY will ever be able to find and actually get proof of. And if, Oh miracle of miracles, there WAS proof, what can any entity, court, arbitrator or whatever do about it since laws and rules cannot change or control minds or hearts. This situation is an open sore that won’t be healed in any of our lifetimes. How could it?

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