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Report: Zygi Wilf hired Leslie Frazier because he's black

Zygi reportedly didn't hire Leslie because of his resume.
Zygi reportedly didn't hire Leslie because of his resume.

Yesterday, the New York Observer published a lengthy piece about the backstory behind the Wilf family's incredible wealth and the New Jersey lawsuit in which a judge blasted the family for using "bad faith and evil motive" in bilking business partners out of more than $80 million.

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By and large, the piece isn't flattering to Zygi and company. But one especially unflattering passage addresses why Zygi decided to stick with Leslie Frazier as Vikings head coach after the Brad Childress era went up in flames.

The reason, the Observer reports, is because ahead of the major push for a new stadium, Zygi wanted to get in the NFL's good graces by taking affirmative action.

From the Observer:

One source familiar with the Wilfs' thinking says that, in meetings with other NFL owners, Zygi is "deferential to the point of ass-kissing," characterizing Zygi as a "kiss-up-piss-down type" who beats up those beneath him on the status chain while fawning over those above him. This source claims that the reason the Wilfs selected Leslie Frazier, without interviewing anyone else, was to alleviate intense pressure in the NFL to hire African-American head coaches, thereby ingratiating themselves to fellow owners at a time when they were asking the league to float a fifth of the stadium's cost.

With groundbreaking on the new stadium just a month or so away, that strategy apparently worked out pretty well for Zygi's bank account. But in terms of the Vikings' on-field product? A surprising playoff run last season aside, not so much.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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