Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill is being accused of cheating during a 2018 season in which the team finished with a 3-13 record. That earned them the right to draft Kyler Murray No. 1 overall. I knew the Cardinals were a pretty bad organization, but between their awful NFLPA report card and now this, I'm feeling worse and worse for Kyler every day.
How my uncle Larry Fitzgerald put up with this shit for so many years, I will never know. Forget the quarterback ineptitude Larry Fitz faced for most of his career. Imagine the chaos that had to be transpiring behind the scenes based on what we're hearing now.
Oh, wait. More unsavory details, per The Athletic:
"Executive Terry McDonough has filed an arbitration demand with the NFL accusing team owner Michael Bidwill of demoting McDonough in 2019 after McDonough objected to a scheme circumventing the suspension of then-general manager Steve Keim.
"According to the arbitration demand, a copy of which was obtained by The Athletic, McDonough was provided a 'burner phone' to communicate with Keim while the GM was banned from contact with the team during a five-week DUI suspension in 2018.
"McDonough’s complaint claims he suffered 'illegal and retaliatory mistreatment and abuse' from Bidwill after McDonough voiced objection to the burner phone scheme, which violated rules set forth for Keim’s suspension. The suspension, handed down by the team, barred Keim from the Cardinals’ facility and 'prohibited contact from the team.'"
Steve Keim had one of the most head-scratching tenures I've ever seen from a general manager. He took that sketchy leave of absence last season before resigning, and then obviously the DUI arrest referenced in the report above. Built mostly terrible rosters and made baffling draft high picks in which he neglected positional value. Years of failing to get the QB right. Lighting up the transaction wire with Hail Mary wide receiver acquisitions. NO real rhyme or reason to anything. No semblance of a long-term vision to build a sustainable winner. Somehow kept his GM job for about a decade.
The workplace harassment and discrimination hint at the toxic culture in Arizona. Maybe that'll change with new leadership arriving now, but who knows? Ownership sets the tone, and according to this arbitration filing, Bidwill has been doing an awful job at that.
Here was the Cardinals' external PR advisor's response to McDonough's accusations, per that Athletic report:
"We are reluctantly obliged to provide a public response along with broader context for some disappointing and irresponsible actions by Terry McDonough. Claims he has made in an arbitration filing are wildly false, reckless, and an opportunistic ploy for financial gain."
McDonough was demoted multiple times by Bidwill after Keim recommended to the owner that McDonough be given a contract extension and a raise. Now, McDonough no longer works for the team. Obviously.
It was already going to be an uphill battle for new GM Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon to pull off this multi-year rebuild. You throw this shit storm on top of it, and the Cardinals' new regime almost seems doomed from the beginning.
Beyond all the troubling information about the burner phones — then-head coach Steve Wilks and Terry McDonough objected to carrying the burners at Bidwill's behest — this whole "cheating" allegation is so frustratingly vague. I'd imagine more information regarding that will leak in the coming days or weeks. At least I hope so. We need the details!! I'm usually pretty on the ball with these types of Hard J Journalism breakdowns, but there's admittedly not a ton of information to go on regarding the cheating angle.
But like, bullying pregnant women, discriminating and intimidating minority employees and terrorizing this guy McDonough for trying to hold you to account? Allegedly. If true, Michael Bidwill might not be far behind Dan Snyder as the next asshole to put his NFL franchise up for sale.
I seriously feel for Cardinals fans. This sucks. You're like the Browns of the NFC with a worse, cheaper owner. How's that even possible? You deserve better. So do the employees who were the targets of this alleged deplorable conduct by Bidwill.
Maybe this is all part of the reason why Kliff Kingsbury flew thousands of miles from Arizona almost immediately after he was fired. Dude had to be disenchanted and crestfallen with how everything played out during his time as an NFL head coach, especially if Bidwill was pulling shit like this all the time.