Former Chicago Blackhawks standout Jeremy Roenick was fired from his job as an NBC Sports hockey commentator back in February after making lewd remarks about fellow hockey broadcasters Kathryn Tappen and Patrick Sharp on a podcast. Imagine if, in response, he meditated upon the hurt he had caused his coworkers, realized he’d embarrassed himself purely through his own boorish behavior, and sincerely apologized...
I’m sorry, I couldn’t even make it to the end of that sentence without Clippy popping up and telling me, “It looks like you forgot it’s 2020. Do you need help?” In actuality, as you would expect in 2020, Roenick just filed a lawsuit against NBC claiming wrongful termination. But the kicker is the reason Roenick cited:
His lawsuit accuses NBC of “discriminating against [Roenick] for being straight” during his time broadcasting for that notoriously heterophobic league: the NHL.
You know how I know that isn’t a thing? Because I just wrote the word “heterophobic” and my spell check underlined it. Of course, since it’s 2020, that probably just means Roenick is getting ready to sue the English language.
Still, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Roenick might have a point. Between Mike Milbury offering advice such as “If you’re going to hit him from behind, give him a slight concussion” to Pierre McGuire mansplaining hockey to Olympic gold medalist Kendall Coyne with insider info like “Tampa’s gonna be on your left, Pittsburgh’s gonna be on your right,” straight guys saying stupid shit just can’t seem to catch a break on NBC!
This all stems from from an appearance Roenick made on the Barstool Sports “Spittin’ Chiclets” podcast in December. Somehow, when I saw the phrase “discriminating against him for being straight,” I knew I’d eventually be typing the words “Barstool Sports” in this piece. As the great Gilbert Gottfried once proclaimed in the original “Aladdin,” “I think I’m gonna have a heart attack and DIE from that surprise.”
In what I can only assume was a digression from an episode devoted to riveting analysis of David Foster Wallace’s unfinished final novel, Roenick discussed a vacation in Portugal with his wife and Tappen during which he declared it would be “really good” to have a threesome.
And if that wasn’t enough, Roenick elaborated: “I’m swimming with my wife and Kathryn, and they’ve got their bikinis on, and they look fucking smokin’! Ass and boobs everywhere, it’s great!” For the topper, Roenick also proclaimed that “I wouldn’t say no right away” if fellow Blackhawk alum Sharp propositioned him.
Roenick was fired from NBC shortly thereafter because: duh.
His lawsuit accuses the network of violating New York State law against discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation by citing a vulgar sketch featuring Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski from 2018. This video featured the pair of commentators making cringeworthy jokes centering around a female skater’s “camel toe” and “quads.” Despite this, Weir and Lipinski kept their broadcasting jobs during the 2018 Winter Olympics.
While I have no doubt the sketch was unwatchable, I trust I don’t need to explain the difference between appearing in a bad comedy video and vocalizing one’s fantasies of a three-way with a co-worker in a public forum.
According to Roenick’s lawsuit, when he was fired, he argued his case with NBC Producer Sam Flood by referencing Weir and Lipinski’s roles in the sketch. Allegedly, Flood responded that Weir “is gay and can say whatever.” Which, if true, might be the best news any of us have heard in this entire godforsaken year.
The lawsuit also alleges that NBC retaliated against Roenick for being a Trump supporter and... you know what? I’m tired.
Roenick filed his anti-straight discrimination suit with the New York State Supreme Court. So, if you hear a burst of raucous laughter emanating from Lower Manhattan sometime later this summer, you’ll know why. In the meantime, heaven help the NHL if Roenick finds out that Gritty just got a makeover from the Fab 5.