When will a straight white hockey player ever get a fair shake in this world, man!
Jeremy Roenick, who is doing his best Curt Schilling impersonation, that of transforming from beloved player to social pariah after his playing days, filed a lawsuit against NBC claiming he was fired for heterosexual discrimination.
Roenick was suspended from NBC Sports in December and later fired for making inappropriate remarks about co-host Kathryn Tappen on the Barstool podcast Spittin’ Chiclets.
“I play it off like we’re going to bed together every night, the three of us. But it’s never going to happen,” he said of Tappen, who joined Roenick and his wife on a trip to Portugal. He talked about his wife and Tappen looking “fucking smoking” while at the pool. “Ass and boobs everywhere. It’s great.”
Tappen said she did not condone his comments.
“While Jeremy and I continue to be good friends, what he said was unacceptable, especially among workplace colleagues,” Tappen said.
Roenick had worked for The Peacock since 2010, shortly after his 20-year NHL career ended.
Roenick’s lawsuit, filed in New York Supreme Court on Friday, claims a double standard by the network, pointing to comments made by former figure skater Johnny Weir.
In a spoof for the Seth MacFarlane-hosted At-Home Variety Show, Weir and fellow figure skater Tara Lipinski joined actors Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins to talk about 2018 Olympic bronze medalist skater Bradie Tennell. According to USA Today, Lipinski posted the video to her Instagram on May 29, but it was soon taken down.
From USA Today:
“Nice camel spin into a toe loop,” even though Tennell does neither a camel spin nor a toe loop in the footage.
Higgins replies: “Yes, the camel toe. Gail’s very familiar with that one.”
Banks, who plays “Pitch Perfect’s” Gail, says, “I am, I am.”
Moments later, Weir jokes, “I’m really hoping we get to see her quads during this program.” Tennell attempted no quadruple jumps at the Olympics.
Banks replies, “Ah, easy, Johnny, your wife’s sitting right there.”
“Gail, we’re co-workers and besties,” Weir says.
“Oh, I see,” Banks says. “Office romance, gotcha.”
The basis of the suit seems to hinge on the fact that Roenick claims he asked NBC Sports executive Sam Flood about the “colorful commentary,” he was told that Weir is “gay and can say whatever.”
Brock McGillis, the only openly gay former player in hockey history, had some choice comments for Roenick:
McGillis is an activist for diversity and inclusion in hockey, elaborated in a call with Deadspin.
“I think it’s problematic that a white, cis, straight man who made millions of dollars playing a sport, thinks it’s OK to not only make sexist comments about a co-worker, then also now bring a gay man … Let’s not kid ourselves, hockey has been known throughout time to harass and make fun of male figure skaters. And now you’re bringing a gay male figure skater [into this] in order to justify it and potentially bring him down? That’s problematic. It’s the epitome of privilege.
“Should they have done the sketch? No. But they’re not the same at all.”
Roenick is a classic example of a man in the sports world treating women not as equals, but as sex objects. And just the latest case illustrating the toxic, insular culture of hockey where this behavior is condoned. When people are privileged and find out they can’t get away with abusing that privilege, they equate that with oppression.
McGillis uses the analogy of a restaurant to show that thinking is wrong.
“Currently, many minorities are on the outside looking in,” McGillis said. “There’s people inside like Jeremy, sitting there eating. It’s not that we want to take his table. It’s that we also want to go in and eat. We don’t want to be treated any differently from other tables.”