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Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill accused of “gross misconduct,” per report

An owner, a vice president, a disgraced general manager, a rookie head coach, and burner phones

Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Much of the news regarding the Arizona Cardinals this offseason has revolved around wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins’ potential exit and landing with the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, or New England Patriots. But now, a scandal has entered the fray, with serious claims being levied at Cardinals current owner Michael Bidwill.

On Tuesday, ESPN Senior NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported that Bidwell has been accused of “gross misconduct” by former team executive Terry McDonough. The arbitration claim was filed Tuesday by McDonough, claiming Bidwell of “alleg(ed) cheating, discrimination and harassment.”

It’s important to note that this is nothing more than a series of allegations and filings with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at this point.

Adam Schefter shares in his article that the accusations stem from McDonough and former head coach Steve Wilks having “‘objected to and sought to avoid participation in a scheme hatched by Bidwill to utilize burner phones to communicate with general manager Steve Keim — in violation of the terms of Keim’s suspension for extreme DUI — during a critical period of the Cardinals training camp in the summer of 2018.’”

Additionally, per the article by Schefter: “‘In response to McDonough’s objection to the illicit burner phone scheme, Bidwill cursed at, berated, and formally reprimanded McDonough, and ultimately demoted him — irrevocably damaging the trajectory of McDonough’s 34-year career in the National Football League. Bidwill also subjected McDonough to bullying, mocking, harassing and abusive behavior.’”

The potential smoking gun in this case is the burner phone that Terry McDonough claims he still has in his possession. If true, said phone would likely contain evidence of the allegations against Michael Bidwill.

Steve Wilks, currently defensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers, lasted one season with the Cardinals as the successor to Bruce Arians. Wilks’ team went 3-13 and he was fired on December 31, 2022 — less than one calendar year after taking over as head coach.