Jeremy Roenick sues NBC claiming anti-straight discrimination in firing

NBCSN's Jeremy Roenick checks his phone before Game 2 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues on May 29, 2019, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Former NBC Sports analyst Jeremy Roenick claim he was fired for being straight. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick is suing NBC for wrongful termination, alleging in one of his lawsuit’s 12 claims that he was discriminated against as a straight man. In another claim he alleges the network fired him because of his support of President Donald Trump in 2016.

Roenick was suspended indefinitely by NBC Sports in December 2019 and dismissed in February after joking about a threesome with his wife and coworker Kathryn Tappen on the “Spittin’ Chiclets” podcast. He also commented on Patrick Sharp’s physical appearance.

Roenick alleges firing due to being straight

The lawsuit was filed in New York Supreme Court on Friday, as reported by Variety. Roenick, a former NHL forward, alleges he was held to a different standard than fellow NBC Sports ice skating analysts Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir.

The lawsuit cites two different incidents involving NBC Sports executive Sam Flood, per The Wrap. The first was at the 2018 Winter Olympics when Roenick asked Flood about “colorful commentary” he heard from Weir “regarding the body parts of ice skaters.” Roenick said in the lawsuit that Flood told him Weir “is gay and can say whatever.”

The second had to do with a promotional spoof video by Lipinski and Weir that USA Today Sports reported on earlier this month. The duo, joined by actress Elizabeth Banks, commentated Bradie Tennell’s 1988 Olympic bronze medal-winning performance using vulgar language and insinuating an affair.

“However, to date, there has not been any remedial action taken against Lipinski or Weir,” per the the lawsuit cited by The Wrap.

NBC Sports and NBC have not commented on the lawsuit.

Roenick: Open support for Trump played a role

Roenick alleges in the lawsuit, per Variety, that his open support of Trump also led to his firing. In 2016 he said he asked Flood for permission to speak at the Republican National Convention.

Via Variety:

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.”

The hockey star alleges that Flood subsequently made derogatory remarks about Trump to Roenick, such as “your boy is messing up this country.”

Roenick, a 20-year NHL veteran who was with NBC Sports since 2010, said in the lawsuit the company could have penalized him in other ways that would show NBC was serious while “not ruining Roenick’s post-playing career.”

Lawyer: Roenick victim of double standard

Scott William Clark, Roenick’s lawyer, told the New York Post his client is the victim of double standards.

“A person’s career should not be thrown away by a company as Mr. Roenick’s career was with NBC. We are confident that the evidence that will be brought to light from this lawsuit will reveal the rampant disregard of Mr. Roenick’s rights.”

Roenick is reportedly suing for unspecified damages. He said the firing caused him to lose lucrative contracts, including with “Kraft Hockeyville,” and his public appearances have been canceled.

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