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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

NBC sued for "anti-straight discrimination" by angry hockey man

Illustration for article titled NBC sued for anti-straight discrimination by angry hockey man
Photo: Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

Today, in “What the puck?” news: An angry hockey man is suing NBC Sports, claiming that he was subject to “discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation” on account of being a straight man who said he wanted to have sex with a female co-worker. Specifically, Jeremy Roenick—a former hockey man for several NHL teams during his 18-year hockey man career—was fired from his job as an NBC Sports analyst after making an appearance on Barstool Sports’ Spittin’ Chiclets podcast last December. Roenick joked on the podcast about wanting to have a threesome with his wife and co-worker Kathryn Tappen. Referencing shared vacations the three take, he said “I play it off like we’re 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 also, per Variety, made some super fun comments about how “They’ve got their bikinis on, and they look fuckin’ smokin’, ass and boobs everywhere. It’s great,” which, hey, is practically protected speech when a straight horny hockey man says it.)

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Neither Tappen nor NBC Sports were amused by Roenick’s comments; Tappen dubbed the statements “unacceptable,” and NBC Sports first suspended, then fired Roenick late last year. Now he is suing, claiming that he’s being discriminated against, not just for being a straight guy who would probably die if he didn’t occasionally joke about having sex with a female colleague, ya know?, but also—big shocker coming here—for being a Trump supporter. According to the suit, when Roenick asked supervisor Sam Flood if he could speak at the Republican National Convention back in 2016, he was told, “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 suit also apparently contains accusations of unfair treatment—or, as Variety calls it, “anti-straight discrimination”—citing that skating analysts Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir weren’t fired or suspended after appearing in a spoof video in 2018 in which they made some sexualized comments about figure skaters’ bodies while chatting with some of the stars of Pitch Perfect. (The footage has been pretty aggressively scrubbed from the internet, although transcripts still exist.) Roenick also claims that Flood told him Weir “Is gay and can say whatever” when he tried to draw parallels between the two men’s actions, as well as other instances in which Weir allegedly made sexualized comments about skaters.

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Roenick is suing for wrongful termination, and is seeking a currently unspecified amount in damages.

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