Former Arizona Cardinals front office executive Terry McDonough has filed an arbitration claim against the team that accuses owner Michael Bidwill of cheating, according to a person with knowledge of the claim.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the matter is pending the league’s arbitration procedures.

The NFL confirmed receipt of the filing on Tuesday, but did not disclose its contents.

McDonough claims he was eventually demoted after he objected to a scheme that would involve the use of so-called “burner phones” to circumvent the 2018 suspension of then-GM Steve Keim, who had been arrested for DUI.

McDonough claims he still has the phone used in the scheme. He worked 10 seasons for the Cardinals front office, including several years as vice president of player personnel.

ESPN and The Athletic first reported about McDonough’s arbitration claim.

McDonough’s contract was not renewed during Arizona’s recent offseason shakeup. Coach Kliff Kingsbury was fired and Keim was not retained after the team went 4-13 last season and the organization made several new hires, including coach Jonathan Gannon and GM Monti Ossenfort.

“We are reluctantly obliged to provide a public response along with broader context for some disappointing and irresponsible actions by Terry McDonough,” said Jim McCarthy, external public relations advisor to the Cardinals. “Claims he has made in an arbitration filing are wildly false, reckless, and an opportunistic ploy for financial gain.”

McCarthy’s response, which was provided to AP, acknowledged the burner phone situation, but attributed that to another Cardinals executive and that “Mr. Bidwill took swift action when he learned of that situation and directed the phones be retrieved and communications stopped.”


AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi contributed to this report.


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