Former Steelers LB Merriweather claims racial bias at Meadows casino
A former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker claims in a federal lawsuit that the white upper management at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino harassed him because he's black, and the company fired him for complaining about the racial discrimination.
Michael L. Merriweather, 53, of Stockton, Calif., says in the lawsuit filed on Tuesday that The Meadows hired him as director of sports marketing on April 14, 2011, mainly so he could attract athletes to play at special events such as “Black & Gold” games.
John Stember, one of Merriweather's attorneys, said Sean Sullivan, vice president and general manager, hired Merriweather because of his people skills and connections to other athletes and celebrities, but other executives apparently resented his hiring.
“It was upper management and his peers that were giving him a hard time,” he said.
A spokesman for The Meadows said he could not comment on pending litigation.
In addition to making racial remarks, executives excluded him from meetings and refused to credit him for the players he recruited for events, which affected Merriweather's commissions, the lawsuit states.
As relationships worsened, the company decided it was easier to fire Merriweather than to discipline or fire the several employees who were harassing him, Stember said.
The company fired Merriweather on Jan. 4, 2012.
The Meadows still owes him about $25,000 in commissions, said Emily Town, another lawyer for Merriweather.
The outside linebacker played for the Steelers from 1982 to 1988. During that time, he went to the Pro Bowl three times and was the team's most valuable player in 1987.
Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Total Trib Media. Contact him at 412-325-4301 at email@example.com.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.