A former Houston Texans employee alleges that the team’s recently fired general manager, Brian Gaine, engaged in discriminatory practices during his tenure with the franchise, according to a report on Thursday.
In a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, former Texans security official Jeff Pope said Gaine fired at least nine African American employees from the time he was hired in January 2018 until his dismissal, USA Today reported. While the Texans purportedly told Pope he was fired on May 8 because he lacked a background in law enforcement, Pope alleges that his dismissal was discriminatory.
“It appeared, and I believe, that he was targeting all minorities in leadership positions and was set to replace them with non-African-Americans. Which he did,” Pope wrote in the complaint.
The Texans announced on June 7 that they had fired Gaine, who served just one season as the team’s general manager. Texans CEO Cal McNair acknowledged that the timing of Gaine’s firing, which occurred weeks before training camp is set to begin, was “unusual,” but referred to the former executive as a “man of high character.”
A Texans representative denied any link between Gaine’s dismissal and the allegations of discrimination and said the complaint was “not a factor” in the decision.
“We have just been made aware of Mr. Pope’s claim,” a Texans spokesperson said in a statement. “We do not comment on pending litigation. The Houston Texans do not tolerate personal or professional discrimination of any kind.”
The Texans finished the 2019 NFL season with an 11-5 record, but lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Indianapolis Colts.