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Cardinals ordered to pay ex-VP McDonough $3M for defamation

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An NFL arbitrator ordered the Arizona Cardinals to pay nearly $3 million to former team executive Terry McDonough for making “false and defamatory” statements about him to the media.

Jeffrey Mishkin, the arbitrator appointed by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, determined the Cardinals defamed McDonough in a CounterPoint Statement that claimed he “abandoned responsibility” for his daughter and “cut her off financially.”

McDonough was awarded $2.25 million for punitive damages, $600,000 in damages for emotional distress and $150,000 in damages for harm to reputation in a decision filed to federal count on Monday and obtained by The Associated Press.

McDonough’s claims for unlawful retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and invasion of privacy were dismissed.

“We are pleased with the arbitrator’s decision dismissing all of Terry McDonough’s employment claims and finding that there was nothing improper about his dismissal from the team,” the Cardinals said in a statement. “As for Mr. McDonough’s other claim, we respect the arbitrator’s determination that our initial statement went too far. We accept responsibility for that statement and are grateful that the arbitration is now resolved.”

McDonough filed the arbitration claim against the Cardinals last April accusing owner Michael Bidwill of cheating. McDonough claimed he was eventually demoted after he objected to a scheme that would involve the use of “burner phones” to circumvent the 2018 suspension of then-GM Steve Keim, who had been arrested for DUI.

Bidwill denied the Cardinals are liable for any claims McDonough made against the team in a demand for arbitration, saying his “erratic behavior eventually damaged his career.” The team cited several instances of what it said was McDonough’s volatile behavior, including a text exchange in which he apologized to Bidwill for a confrontation.

McDonough worked 10 seasons for the Cardinals’ front office, including several years as vice president of player personnel.



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