HomeSportsNFLFormer Cardinals executive accuses team, owner of defamation

Former Cardinals executive accuses team, owner of defamation

by Kaiden Smith
Terry McDonough introducing new head coach Jonathan Gannon
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

After being in the news for committing a tampering violation just a month ago, the Arizona Cardinals front office is in the news yet again for all the wrong reasons.

ESPN investigative reporter Tisha Thompson reported Monday that former Arizona Cardinals vice president of player development Terry McDonough is now accusing the team’s owner Michael Bidwill of defamation and invasion. And according to ESPN, the accusations stem from “comments the team posted on its website and distributed to the media last month.”

In the official complaint obtained by ESPN, Bidwell and the Cardinals organization apparently “publicly disclosed private facts about McDonough” and made “false and defamatory statements about McDonough” that the team knew “to be false” as part of an “effort to intimidate and harass him and his family members”. 

The Cardinals responded in a statement saying, “We are aware of the amended complaint and remain confident in our position. We are precluded from commenting further based on an existing confidentiality order that binds all parties.”

McDonough’s latest accusations follow his April 4 arbitration claim sent to league commissioner Roger Goodell, which also accused Bidwill of gross misconduct, which included cheating, discrimination, and harassment.

Read below for more on McDonough’s previous accusations of Bidwell.

Troubling Allegations Emerge on Arizona Cardinals Owner Michael Bidwell

Former Cardinals executive Terry McDonough has accused Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwell of misconduct. This is in an arbitration claim, according to ESPN. Included in that claim are accusations of cheating, discrimination, and harassment.

McDonough claims that Michael Bidwell forced him and former Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks to use burner phones to communicate to general manager Steve Keim. This was while Keim was serving a five-week suspension after pleading guilty to extreme DUI.

According to McDonough, he still has the phone, which has evidence of the scandal.

He also says that it was Michael Bidwell himself who came up with the scheme. McDonough says that he and Wilks didn’t want to be involved. He also says that he was written up for insubordination over this.

“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 filing reads.

Terry McDonough was the Cardinals’ vice president of player personnel from 2014 to 2019. He is now saying that after he didn’t go along with Michael Bidwell, his career dried up. Now, he is seeking damages related to this, including for breach of contract and emotional distress.

Outsider’s Daniel Morrison contributed to this report