Sean Kugler, recently fired as assistant coach of the Arizona Cardinals, has hired a law firm to investigate allegations that he improperly touched a female security guard when the team was in Mexico last month to play a game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Kugler took over the law office of attorney Shields Pettini, who on Friday said he filed an arbitration request with the NFL because of the Cardinals’ handling of the situation, which resulted in his client’s dismissal.
The law firm claims Kugler was fired over “baseless allegations that he improperly touched a female security guard.”
Kugler, a 56-year-old and well-known person, was the team’s offensive line coach and game coordinator with the Cardinals, where he had been with since 2019.
The Cardinals played the 49ers in a Monday night game in Mexico.
Arizona says the incident took place the Saturday before the match and that it returned Kugler to the United States.
“The allegations against Coach Kugler are simply false and have caused Sean, his wife and family great personal and professional harm,” attorney Michael Pettini said.
“The coach and his family are desperate to understand from the direction of the Cardinals and elsewhere the reasoning or evidence that was used as grounds for terminating him.”
The law firm says the Cardinals fired Kugler from the organization without conducting a thorough investigation or interviewing him.
“Respecting women is a core value in me, and something I’ve instilled in my children and the players I’ve coached,” Kugler said in a statement.
“The strange claims of the Cardinals are false, and I want to clear my name. Whether it’s miscommunication or misidentify, my family and I will fully and sincerely cooperate with the NFL, the Cardinals, or any other agency to get to the truth in this matter and restore my reputation.”
Cardinals offensive line player Kelvin Beachum spoke with Kugler just after the firing. He said Kugler was “devastated” and that the coach was highly respected in the players’ locker room.
“I don’t think anyone expected this,” Beachum said Friday.
The Cardinals said in a statement Friday: “Because this is an ongoing legal matter, we will refrain from commenting other than to state that the team is confident that the process will result in a very different set of facts than those laid out today and that it had a proper cause to terminate Mr. Kugler’s employment.”
When asked about Kugler, coach Kliff Kingsbury referred reporters to the team’s statement.
Kugler’s firing adds to the tumultuous season for the Cardinals (4-9), who started the campaign with high expectations but have five setbacks in their last six games.