Steve Wilks Oct 2, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive secondary coach Steve Wilks on the sidelines in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Wilks seemed to the favorite among many Carolina Panthers players and fans to become the team’s next head coach. After guiding the team to a 6-6 record in an interim role, Wilks interviewed for the job.

Instead, the Panthers hired Frank Reich as their new head coach Thursday. That did not sit well with Wilks, who is Black. Wilks’ attorney, Doug Wigdor, issued a statement on his client’s behalf Thursday saying, “There is a legitimate race problem in the NFL.”

“We are shocked and disturbed that after the incredible job Coach Wilks did as the interim coach, including bringing the team back into playoff contention and garnering the support of the players and fans, that he was passed over for the head coach position by David Tepper,” Wigdor said. “There is a legitimate race problem in the NFL, and we can assure you that we will have more to say in the coming days.”

Wigdor represents Wilks in the ongoing racial discrimination suit against the NFL and several teams initially filed on behalf of former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores.

Wigdor makes a serious allegation that raises questions, ones that can’t be resolved here. Without question, Wilks did a phenomenal job as interim coach in Charlotte, taking a team that started 1-4 and going 6-6 the rest of the way, most of that coming after the trade of star Christian McCaffrey.

However, Reich has also done a good job in the NFL, posting a 40-33-1 mark, a very respectable .547 winning percentage.

Given Wigdor’s statement, don’t be surprised to see the Panthers added to the pending class action suit.

[Pro Football Talk]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.