“Get this fa***t outta here; he’s trying to catch a sneaky peaky,” were the taunts and jeers Rasean Tate alleges he was met with by the Houston Rockets as they visited the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center during February of last year.
The 28-year-old was on the clock as a server and with his back turned, felt the blowback of an entire locker room of ridicule.
Tate, who is openly gay, says when he complained of the situation, Barclays’ catering company Levy Restaurant Holdings promised to handle it, only to slowly relinquish him of his duties which lead to his eventually firing for a handful of petty reasons.
Now he’s striking back with a lawsuit.
Reports New York Post:
The reeling server said that the jabs and snickering didn’t let up.
“These series of comments were repeated a number of times by defendant Rockets players and staff,” according to the suit. “Plaintiff could hear defendant Rockets players overlapping voices and laughter.”
Tate claims that a Nets representative witnessed the ugly incident and advised him to “just leave” and that he would “take care of it,” according to the suit.
Tate headed for the nearest restroom to compose himself, the suit says.
Still reeling two days later, Tate went to Levy catering manager Darcy Tarpia to relay details of the confrontation.
He was offered a verbal apology and promised that the situation would be addressed, according to the suit.
Tate was later told that Nets players were given special sensitivity training because of the incident with the Rockets, the court papers state. But the suit alleges that he was soon met with retaliation rather than redress.
Tate claims he was slowly phased out of all locker room duty by the catering company after he lodged his complaints and his pay and hours plummeted as a result, according to the suit.
From the 2013 NBA Draft to the Jordan Brand Classic, Tate was suddenly barred from working locker rooms in favor of heterosexual staffers, the suit states.
With his pay falling off a cliff, Tate emailed Levy brass to assert his ability to work locker rooms like anyone else.
He stated in the missive that he was “able, capable and comfortable to perform any duty and task as a catering server in all locations of the arena, including locker rooms and dressing rooms, in spite of the incident that occurred earlier in the year.”
Tate claims that Levy brass violated their own policies when they assigned a female to work the dressing room of a male performer instead of him.
The pattern of retaliation finally resulted in Tate’s suspension in January for failing to give a customer a fork and other trumped-up offenses, his suit claims. He was let go without pay — and hasn’t been called to work since, court papers allege.
Neither the Brooklyn Nets or Barclays Center was named in the lawsuit and both organizations declined to comment on the matter.
It’s severely ironic that all this occurred in the Brooklyn Nets’ backyard and seeing they signed the NBA’s first openly gay player in Jason Collins a year later.
Collins has also admitted to a fellow player slandering him with gay insults.