Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Roger Goddell Violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
The NFL is in violation of Title VII Section of the Civil Rights Act. That's right, Roger Goddell's suspension of Adam "Pacman" Jones, an African-American, has clearly violated Mr. Jones' federally protected rights of employment when compared to the treatment of Matt Jones [no relation to Pacman], a Caucasion Wide Receiver for Jacksonville.
Pacman's violation - Drinking at a bar and fighting with his own bodyguard. No charges filed with the police, no complaints from any other bar patrons, and no suspension from his own boss, Jerry Jones. Matt Jones violation - CHARGED by the police in Arkansas with possession of FOUR POUNDS of cocaine with intent to distribute [case is still pending in Arkansas state court]. No suspension from the league at this point.
Title VII employment discrimination claims are reviewed under the burden-shifting framework outlined in McDonnell Douglas v. Green. 411 U.S. 792 at 802 (1973). Under this framework, the plaintiff, Pacman, must first establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, a prima facie case of discrimination. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 142 (2000). The burden is one of production and not one of persuasion. Id. If the Plaintiff develops such proof, then the Defendant, Roger Goddell/NFL, must come forward and articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the challenged employment action. McDonnell Douglas, 411 U.S. 792 at 802 (1973). Once the NFL provides sufficient evidence to meet this burden, Pacman must show that he was the victim of intentional discrimination by showing the NFL's proffered explanation of the employment decision is unworthy of credence. Reeves, 530 U.S. 133, at 143 (2000). Pacman can meet this evidentiary burden by either providing evidence of discrimination or evidence establishing the falsity of the NFL's explanation. Id. at 147; See Kanida v. Gulf Coast Med. Pers. LP, 363 F.3d. 568, 574-75 (5th Cir. 2004).
Pacman meets the element of his prima facie case because: (1) he is of a protected class (he's Black); (2) he's qualified for the position of Cornerback in the NFL (Round 1 Draft Choice, two fumble recoveries, and two almost picks...yes he's qualified); and (3) he suffered an adverse employment decision by the hands of the NFL when suspended for at least 5 weeks at $41,000.00 per week while comparably, Matt Jones has not been suspended for selling 4 pounds of White Pony.
To refute this prima facie case of discrimination, Mr. Goddell must articulate a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for his adverse employment decision. McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973). In this context, evidence is substantial if it is such as to allow a rational fact finder to make a reasonable inference that a protected factor was a determinative reason for the employment decision.” LaPierre v. Benson Nissan, Inc., 86 F.3d 444, 449 (5th Cir. 1996) (internal citations omitted). According to Mr. Goddell, Pacman's violations have had a "...deleterious affect on the league, his team, and his teammates."
Mr. Goddell cannot explain why providing a living for female employees of breast establishments nationwide, by "Makin' It Rain," hurt a league starving for media attention. Nor can Mr. Goddell justify that a tustle in a bar with one's own body guard warrants financial hardship upon a Brother just trying to earn a spot on an NFL roster. But most importantly, Mr. Goddell truly fails to articulate why selling FOUR POUNDS of Nose Candy does NOT have a deleterious affect on the league or his team.
For the foregoing reasons, Roger Goddell has failed to purport a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason why Pacman gets suspended while Matt Jones, continues to spare us to death. Hence, clear disparate treatment, actionable discrimination, and damages should be cited against the NFL.