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Monday, February 12, 2007

Former NFL Field Official says he was fired over race issue.

This is an AP wire service report from over the weekend.

NFL Official Says Firing Spurred by Race
Associated Press Writer

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

Earnie Frantz, a 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 part of his job as a supervisor included grading the performance of officials after each week of play.

But while performing that role, the suit said, Frantz 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."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed that Frantz was let go by the league, but disputed the former official's account of how it happened.

"While we have not seen the specific allegations, we know that Earnie Frantz's departure from the NFL had nothing to do with issues of race," Aiello said in an e-mail message to The Associated Press.

He declined to elaborate.

Frantz, who lives in Massachusetts, is seeking unspecified damages, penalties and back pay. His attorney, Scott Korenbaum, did not immediately return a phone message Friday.


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