Brian Flores’s lawsuit against the NFL has expanded. Two more coaches, Steve Wilks and Ray Horton, have joined his lawsuit and three new teams are being named for their unjust behavior in head-coach hiring cycles. The Tennessee Titans are one of them.
The Titans are being named for their actions regarding Horton, who was their defensive coordinator in 2014 and 2015. He interviewed for their head coach vacancy but lost the job to Mike Mularkey, the team’s tight ends coach and interim head coach for the second half of the 2015 season.
According to ESPN’s Kevin Van Valkenburg, a complaint filed by the lawyers representing the coaches in the lawsuit states that the Titans only interviewed Horton to satisfy the Rooney Rule.
Lawyers said the interview was a “completely sham interview done only to comply with the Rooney Rule and to demonstrate an appearance of equal opportunity and a false willingness to consider a minority candidate for the position.” The Titans hired Mike Mularkey, who is white, for the job, and Horton left to be the defensive coordinator in Cleveland. He has since retired.
The lawyers have a smoking gun to back up their claim. Mularkey, in 2020, admitted on the Steelers Realm podcast that he knew he had the Titans’ head coaching job before any other candidate interviewed.
This is big: Ray Horton alleges the #Titans conducted a sham interview with him in 2016. They hired Mike Mularkey.
Horton's proof: Mularkey did a podcast and said he was told the job is his before anyone else got an interview.
Here's the audio of Mularkey… and it's damning: pic.twitter.com/tRQsxjZVq3
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) April 7, 2022
Flores decided to file his lawsuit against the NFL over a similar situation. He alleges that the New York Giants knew they would hire Brian Daboll and used Flores as a candidate without considering him for the job.
Tennessee joins the Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals as the other new teams to be named in the lawsuit along with the Giants, Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos.