During the NFL’s International Series, the Arizona Cardinals faced the San Francisco 49ers in Mexico City on Monday. Though the Cardinals lost to the 49ers 10-38, off-the-field drama overshadowed the loss after one of Arizona’s coaches was fired ahead of the game for allegedly groping a woman.
Sean Kugler, who is the Cardinals’ offensive line coach and running game coordinator, was fired and sent back to Arizona on Monday morning, before the game, after reportedly assaulting a woman in Mexico City on Sunday night, ESPN reported.
Mexican authorities were told about the groping and informed the team officials.
The team has not been specific about the details of the incident, the Arizona Republic reported.
But head coach Kliff Kingsbury did comment briefly on the issue and confirmed that Kugler was indeed booted and that it was permanent, not a temporary suspension.
“We relieved him of his duties, and he was sent home Monday morning prior to the game,” Kingsbury told the Republic.
“It’s challenging anytime you make a staff change in that type of manner, and I’m just going to leave it at that,” Kingsbury added.
The incident with Kugler marks the second time this year that a member of the Cardinals’ coaching staff has been involved in an assault incident, ESPN reported.
In October, James Saxon, a running back coach resigned after an assault that he was allegedly involved in became public, ESPN reported.
In May, Saxon reportedly turned himself over to police in Indiana for assaulting an Indianapolis woman. The news of his arrest became public on Aug. 4, ESPN added.
The Cardinals put him on administrative leave, then on Oct. 6, Saxon ended up pleading guilty to domestic battery, the Republic added.
His resignation from Arizona’s staff then followed.
As the news of Kugler’s firing has spread across social media, many have pointed out the differences and how the Cardinals reacted much more quickly to the incident with Kugler in Mexico City.
“Cardinals RB coach James Saxson was charged with domestic battery — involving children — in May, allowed to stay with the team until it became public in August, placed on admin leave, pled guilty Oct 6th, then allowed to resign. Sean Kugler was fired immediately,” tweeted Chuck Harris, a staff writer for the Cards Wire.
Cardinals RB coach James Saxson was charged with domestic battery – involving children – in May, allowed to stay with the team until it became public in August, placed on admin leave, pled guilty Oct 6th, then allowed to resign.
Sean Kugler was fired immediately.
— Chuck Harris (@chuckh3) November 22, 2022
Others have called for Kingsbury to actually be fired as well since he is the head coach.
“This is now the 2nd assistant coach this year to be fired from the Cardinals for inappropriate behavior toward women. Clearly a culture problem. Fire everyone. Start over. This is not acceptable,” tweeted an account named #FireKliffKingsbury.
This is now the 2nd assistant coach this year to be fired from the Cardinals for inappropriate behavior toward women. Clearly a culture problem. Fire everyone. Start over. This is not acceptable. https://t.co/MTfeM4WLPw
— #FireKliffKingsbury (@bugattib0b) November 23, 2022
But the Cardinals’ organization has still not released any details about Kugler’s reported assault or commented on any broader issues related to this incident and the previous issue with Saxon, NFL.com reported.
For now, the coaching staff has been reshuffled for the Cardinals and Brian Natkin, offensive line coach, and Steve Heiden, tight ends coach, will be filling in the gap left by Kugler’s termination, NFL.com added.
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