Two coaches join Brian Flores' racial discrimination lawsuit against NFL

    Steve Wilks, left, and Ray Horton added their claims to a lawsuit against the NFL that alleges racial discrimination.

    (CNN)Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks and longtime NFL assistant Ray Horton have joined Brian Flores' racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL and several teams, according to an amended complaint filed Thursday.

    In the complaint, Wilks claims he was unfairly fired by the Cardinals; Horton alleges the Tennessee Titans put him through a "sham" interview process.
    Flores filed his federal civil lawsuit in February against the NFL, the New York Giants, the Denver Broncos and the Miami Dolphins organizations.
      Flores, now a Pittsburgh Steelers assistant after three years as the Dolphins head coach, praised the two men for adding their names to his lawsuit.
        "I continue to be humbled by the outpouring of support in connection with my claims against the NFL and applaud Steve Wilks and Ray Horton for standing up against systemic race discrimination," Flores, who is Black, said in a statement. "Their claims are the unfortunate reality of the problems facing Black coaches in the NFL which our collective hope in this case is to end once and for all."
        Flores Thursday also expanded on his claims against the Dolphins and added the Houston Texans as a defendant.
        The NFL declined to comment Thursday on the amended complaint.
          When Flores first filed the suit, the league said: "The NFL and our clubs are deeply committed to ensuring equitable employment practices and continue to make progress in providing equitable opportunities throughout our organizations. Diversity is core to everything we do, and there are few issues on which our clubs and our internal leadership team spend more time. We will defend against these claims, which are without merit."
          The teams named in the suit have denied the allegations.

          Wilks alleges discriminatory firing

          Wilks claims he was "unfairly and discriminatorily fired" by the Cardinals after he served as the team's head coach for the 2018 season, according to the court document. Wilks was replaced by Kliff Kingsbury, who is White, after going 3-13 that year. In the suit, Wilks argues Kingsbury was given more opportunity and support, despite having no prior NFL experience.
          "When Coach Flores filed this action, I knew I owed it to myself, and to all Black NFL coaches and aspiring coaches, to stand with him," Wilks said in a statement through his attorneys Thursday. "This lawsuit has shed further important light on a problem that we all know exists, but that too few are willing to confront.
          "Black coaches and candidates should have exactly the same ability to become employed, and remain employed, as white coaches and candidates. That is not currently the case, and I look forward to working with Coach Flores and Coach Horton to ensure that the aspiration of racial equality in the NFL becomes a reality."
          The Cardinals called the decisions made after the 2018 season "very difficult ones" in a statement. "But as we said at the time, they were entirely driven by what was in the best interests of our organization and necessary for team improvement. We are confident that the facts reflect that and demonstrate that these allegations are untrue," the team said.
          Earlier this year, Wilks was named the pass game coordinator and secondary coach for the Carolina Panthers after spending one season as the University of Missouri's defensive coordinator.

          Horton claims he went through sham interview process

          According to the lawsuit, Horton, who was the defensive coordinator for the Titans in 2014-15, said the team asked him to fly from his Phoenix home to Nashville on short notice to interview for their head coaching vacancy. Horton's lawyers claim the interview was a "sham" and only done "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 NFL instituted the Rooney Rule in 2003 in an effort to increase diversity among the NFL's head coaching, general manager and executive ranks. The rule requires every team to interview at least two external minority candidates for open head coaching positions.