USA Today has obtained a copy of a discrimination complaint filed by former Texans security coordinator Jeff Pope against recently fired GM Brian Gaine with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in which Pope alleges he was one of several black employees singled out and let go by Gaine.
The existence of the complaint was first reported yesterday by the Houston Chronicle. Pope’s lawyer, N. Lucy Chukwurah, told the Chronicle that they didn’t plan to address the complaint publicly until Gaine was abruptly fired last Friday. “When the Texans terminated Mr. Gaine, that caught my attention,” Chukwurah said. “They terminated him a few days after they spoke with their counsel. I found that to be unusual.”
Pope says he was told last month that he was not being retained because of his lack of law enforcement experience. In the complaint, he reportedly names eight other black employees who were fired by Gaine after he took over in Jan. 2018. “It appeared, and I believe, that he was targeting all minorities in leadership positions and was set to replace them with non-African-Americans. Which he did,” Pope wrote. “In short, every African American in the building understood that not too many of us could congregate or be seen interacting with each other even during lunch because it did not look good to the powers that be.”
A Texans spokesperson denied that the complaint and Gaine’s firing were linked, and the Chronicle reported that Pope was not retained in part “for falsifying payroll and overtime records.” As Mike Florio points out, it would seem to defy for the team to fire him because of the discrimination claim, because the team is incentivized to keep him on their staff if things progress to the point where he has to give testimony.