Panthers hire Frank Reich: Attorney representing Steve Wilks says ‘there is a systemic racial problem in the NFL’

Despite his impressive body of work CheetahsInterim head coach Steve Wilks was not selected as Carolina’s permanent coach. Work instead Frank went to Reichwho was fired Colts Nine games into the 2022 season.

Douglas Victor, the attorney representing Wilkes in Brian Flores’ pending racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL, released a statement after the Panthers announced the hiring of Reich.

“After an incredible job as interim coach, Coach Wilks, including bringing the team back to playoff contention and winning the support of players and fans, we are shocked and concerned that he has been replaced as head coach by David Tepper. .

“There is a legitimate racial problem in the NFL, and we assure you we will have more to say in the coming days.”

Wilkes received rave reviews from Panthers players after replacing Matt Rule after the team’s 1-4 start. The Panthers went 6-6 under Wilkes and finished just short of winning the NFC South division.

That the Panthers have been competitive for so long is a testament to Wilks’ tenure as a longtime defensive assistant. CardinalsHead coach for the 2018 season. Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold said Wilks’ openness has been one of his biggest strengths during his tenure as interim coach.

“I think he can be honest with us, tell us exactly how we’re going to play the game, what we want to do, and not shy away from that.” Darnold said After a Week 14 win over Seattle. “Even if we lost some games, he said early on, it was, ‘Hey, trust the process and trust the game plan.’ If you go into a game knowing that you want to play football, if you get a couple of scores early, you have to believe that and know that the game plan is going to be executed. So I think coach Wilks is doing a good job of sending a message to the team.”

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Carolina’s players apparently lobbied for Wilkes late in the 2022 season. Unfortunately for them and Wilkes, their lobbying ultimately fell on deaf ears.

“We’re riding behind Wilkes,” the linebacker Shaq Thompson said Following Carolina’s season-ending victory in Seattle. “He came in here, he’s a real alpha, he’s a real leader and guys follow him.

“He’s done amazing. Look at what we’re doing.”

The lack of minority head coaches was a hot topic a year ago this time, and especially since Dolphins‘Flores and Flores’ firing’ lawsuit against NFL The NFL had three black coaches at the start of the 2022 season. One of those coaches, Lovie Smith, became the third black coach Texans In most years, one day after the end of the regular season.

Last February, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a memo to NFL teams addressing the lack of hiring of minorities.

“We have made significant efforts to promote diversity and adopted many policies and programs that have made a positive difference in many areas, although we have to admit that the results, especially with regard to head coaches, have been unacceptable.” Goodell wrote. “We will re-evaluate and review all policies, guidelines and initiatives related to diversity, equality and inclusion, including those related to gender.”

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