Hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick filed suit Friday in Manhattan Supreme Court against NBC Sports, saying he was wrongfully dismissed for making a comment about a desired “threesome” with an on-air partner while other commentators said equally racy remarks and went unpunished.
Roenick, age 50, said the network applied a different standard to his remarks than those by skating commentators Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski in a different video. His lawsuit does not ask for a specific amount in damages.
NBC fired the former NHL forward in February for comments he made on a Dec. 18 episode of the Barstool Sports podcast “Spittin’ Chiclets.” On that show, Roenick joked about his hopes to “go to bed” with his wife and coworker Kathryn Tappen on a vacation in Portugal.
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Roenick’s lawsuit claims former figure skating Olympians Lipinski and Weir said equally disturbing things on a July 2 video of 1998 Olympic gold medalist figure skater Bradie Tennell. In that video, they made comments about a camel toe and an affair.
Lipinski posted the video to her Instagram account May 29 but has since taken it town. In the video, she made a reference to a camel toe when she introduced Tennell, saying, “Nice camel spin into a toe loop.” Tennell had not attempted either move.
Weir and actress Elizabeth Banks then joked about Weir cheating on his “wife,” Lipinski, after Weir said of Tennell, “I’m really hoping we get to see her quads during this program.” Again, Tennell had not attempted the move.
The lawsuit also claims that Weir made comments during the 2018 Olympics on the body parts of certain skaters. Roenick asked his boss, Sam Flood, about the remarks. Flood allegedly said that Weir “is gay and can say whatever,” the court papers allege.
In the suit filed Friday, Roenick brought 12 claims against NBC Sports and Flood, including a claim alleging he was discriminated against because of his sex or sexual orientation.
Roenick apologized publicly for his remarks and Tappen allegedly told him she was not offended. But, the lawsuit says, she was allegedly pressured by NBC and a woman’s rights organization to condemn the comments, the lawsuit alleged.
As a result of his firing, Roenick says he lost contracts with “Kraft Hockeyville,” and with the Molson Coors Beverage company. He also lost public speaking income.
An NBC Sports spokesperso said, “We have not seen the complaint and we have no comment.”
Reps for Lipinski and Weir have not yet commented.
Always known for being outspoken and sometimes controversial, even during his playing days, Roenick said in a video posted on social media at the time of his firing: “I’m very disappointed and angry today. … Even though I’m leaving NBC, I will not be gone for long. I’ll be back better and more motivated to bring you the best entertainment and the best that I have for the game of hockey.”
Roenick played 20 seasons in the NHL with five NHL teams, including the Los Angeles Kings, before segueing to broadcasting.
Roenick had served as a studio analyst for NBC Sports Group’s NHL coverage on NHL Live and NHL Overtime, NBCSN’s pregame and postgame shows.
Erik Pedersen contributed to this report.
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