Lakers Spanish-Language Voice Fernando Gonzalez Sues Team, Time Warner Cable
May 28, 2014 at 4:49 AM (PT)
LOS ANGELES LAKERS Spanish-language radio play-by-play broadcaster FERNANDO GONZALEZ has filed a discrimination and harassment lawsuit against the team and TIME WARNER CABLE for "no less than" $1 million.
The suit, which also names LAKERS SVP/Business Operations TIM HARRIS and TIME WARNER CABLE VP/Programming PABLO URQUIZA and Sports Regional Networks SVP/GM MARK SHUKEN alleges that the LAKERS "have treated Plaintiff differently and less favorably than his Anglo-American counterparts in terms of wages, hours and conditions of employment."
Among the allegations are that the LAKERS did not include GONZALEZ and analyst JOSE "PEPE" MANTILLA when naming their broadcasters in pre-game announcements in 1996-97; making GONZALEZ and MANTILLA pay $3,000 each for championship rings while others got them for free until the late CHICK HEARN intervened; not allowing the Spanish broadcasters' spouses to use the "Family Room" other broadcasters' and players' spouses could use; failure to provide GONZALEZ and MANTILLA with season tickets from 1996 through 2006; failure to provide valet parking as for other staffers; failure to allow access to practice sessions and the NBA annual meetings; failure to allow the Spanish-language crew to travel to road games (with excuses including "we don't have room in the airplane" and "you don't need to go"); compensation on a per-game rather than salary basis; and failure to allow a one-on-one interview with KOBE BRYANT.
In addition, the suit complains that GONZALEZ and MANTILLA were passed over for the job of calling LAKERS games on TIME WARNER's new TWC DEPORTES cable network in favor of younger announcers making $300,000 per year compared to GONZALEZ' $120,000 per year. The move also cut into GONZALEZ and MANTILLA's income because it ended the use of their radio play-by-play on the English-language TV broadcasts' second audio program service. And the suit alleges that the LAKERS retaliated against GONZALEZ with a contract offer in 2012 calling for a 50% pay cut and assigning the other half to TIME WARNER for additional work, which he said did occur in 2012-13 but not in 2013-14, when he was denied work on WNBA SPARKS broadcasts and saw what he alleges was a $30,000 reduction in compensation.
LAKERS Spanish-language radio broadcasts air on LOTUS Spanish Sports KWKW-A (1330 ESPN DEPORTES)/LOS ANGELES.