NBC Sports Commentator Claims Discrimination Because He's Straight

Tuesday July 21, 2020

Jeremy Roenick
Jeremy Roenick  (Source:Associated Press)

A fired NBC Sports commentator has found a novel way to sue the network for wrongful termination: He claims he was discriminated against because he's straight and supports President Donald Trump, the Insider reports.

Former National Hockey League star Jeremy Roenick was suspended from NBC in late December without pay "after he made a series of questionable remarks about fellow hockey broadcasters Kathryn Tappen, Patrick Sharp and Anson Carter during a recent appearance on the Spittin' Chiclets podcast," reports the Daily Mail.

"On the podcast, Roenick discussed a vacation to Portugal with his wife and Tappen where he made repeated references to the NBC Sports anchor's appearance and joked about the possibility of the three of them having sex together," the Daily Mail report continues.

"I'm swimming with my wife and Kathryn, and they've got their bikinis on, and they look f—in' smokin'," he said on the podcast in December. "Ass and boobs everywhere. It's great."

"I play it off like we're all going to bed together every night, the three of us. If it really came to fruition, that would really be good. But it's never going to happen," he added.

Apparently, love was in the air because he also called his male colleague Sharp "so beautiful," adding "I'd have to think about it if he asked me... I wouldn't say no right away."

After the suspension, Roenick issued an apology. But his supervisor, Sam Flood, subsequently informed him that he was fired, Variety reported.

Roenick also said he clashed with Flood over politics saying "he asked Flood for permission to speak at the Republican National Convention in 2016. According to the suit, Flood responded: 'I'm not saying what you can do. You know who you work for. You work for NBC. That would not look good on your NBC record.' "

"Roenick alleges that his support for Trump was one of the reasons leading to his firing," writes Variety.

In the lawsuit, filed in the New York Supreme Court, also accuses NBC of violating the state law against discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation, claiming the network had a double-standard that allowed LGBTQ commentator Johnny Weir free rein to make similar lapses in taste without retribution.

"The suit points to a controversy over a promotional video (since deleted) involving NBC figure skating commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, which involved some vulgar language and an insinuation of an affair. The suit notes that neither Weir nor Lipinski was suspended or terminated," writes Variety.

The video featured Olympic team bronze medalist Bradie Tennell in a performance from Olympics against vulgar color commentary by actors by actors Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins last month in which a vulgar term for a woman's groin was used, as well as a joke about a sexual affair between Weir and Tennell, reports USA Today.

Roenick said that he had also told Flood that Weir previously used "colorful commentary" about skaters' body parts during the 2018 Olympics. Flood allegedly responded that Weir "is gay and can say whatever."

Roenick played 20 NHL seasons before moving into television in 2010, writes the Insider.

NBC Sports was approached by the Insider for comment but did not respond in time for this publication.

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