In March, University of Central Florida defensive coordinator Paul Ferraro left the team after barely two months on the job due to "personal reasons," whatever that means. According to a breach of contract lawsuit Ferraro filed this past Friday, that translates to head coach George O'Leary firing Ferraro for objecting to some deeply weird racism, such as referring to the entire NFL as a "Ru-Ru tribe," whatever that means. [Update: It probably refers to an old joke.]
Ferarro's suit alleges that O'Leary "created a work environment that was permeated by bullying, threatening behavior, and repeated discriminatory epithets." The alleged "repeated discriminatory epithets" aren't your garden variety racist bile. Via USA Today:
The suit alleges that O'Leary used a derogatory word for African-Americans and called the NFL "one big 'Ru-Ru' tribe." The suit also alleges O'Leary once advised coaches to check African-American players "to make sure their gums are blue, because they are bigger, faster and stronger than (African-American players) with red gums."
According to Ferraro, O'Leary also called him a "Guinea," a racist slur used against Italian-Americans. A UCF spokesperson told USA Today that the school's Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action office investigated all of Ferraro's claims back in February, but found them to be "untrue." The spokesperson strongly denied anything untoward occurred:
"None of the individuals alleged to have been the subject of, or to have overheard, these supposed statements corroborated Mr. Ferraro's claims. In fact, until seeking compensation after abandoning his job, it does not appear he ever discussed this with anyone at UCF."
This isn't the first time George O'Leary has landed in hot water. In 2001 he resigned as head coach of Notre Dame just days after accepting the job, when it was revealed that O'Leary had multiple lies on his résumé. In 2008 UCF player Ereck Plancher died after a conditioning drill, and four players anonymously told the Orlando Sentinel that O'Leary and other coaches had cursed at Plancher for lack of effort during the drill. A jury would later find the UCF Athletics Association negligent in Plancher's death.
Photo via Getty/Christian Petersen