Saturday, February 10, 2007

Racial Discrimination Allegations in the NFL

The NFL is the most successful sports league in the United States and everything it touches appears to turn to gold. But now a former senior league official is set to rain on the parade. He is alleging that he was fired because he's white:

A former supervisor of NFL officials sued the league in federal court yesterday, claiming he was unfairly fired after some referees lodged false complaints that he was racially biased.

Earnie Frantz, who was head linesman in the NFL from 1981 to 2001, said he was fired as associate supervisor of officiating in the spring of 2005.

In a lawsuit filed in Manhattan, Frantz said that while performing his duties of grading officials' performance after each week of play, he became a target of complaints by "a vocal component of the minority officiating crew," who complained that he was racially biased and graded minorities more harshly than whites. "In terminating Mr. Frantz's employment, the NFL bowed to the pressure of the minority members of the officiating crews whom he supervised," the suit said.

Frantz, who is white, claimed in the suit that he was essentially fired "because of the color of his skin."

Given how skillfully run the NFL is, one has to guess that this case will be settled before it attracts too much attention. Still, given that it was only 5 years ago that the league adopted the 'Rooney Rule,' it's interesting to see it alleged that the pendulum has effectively swung the other way,

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