Jeremy Roenick doesn’t believe he did anything wrong. He simply believes he is a “sacrificial lamb.”
The former hockey star, who was suspended and then fired as an analyst with NBC Sports after talking about the possibility of having a threesome with co-worker Kathryn Tappen on a podcast, blames his termination on woke culture.
“I gotta be a little bit more aware of the culture that we’re in right now, the things you can say, whether it’s public or whether it’s in a podcast that you’re very comfortable telling stories,” Roenick told TMZ Sports. “Whether they’re your very good friends, like Kathryn is one of my best friends, I’m talking about my wife, I’m talking about trips that we went on. I got too comfortable talking about something that all of us were pretty comfortable talking about. And, I got caught in that. At times, in the culture today you gotta be more aware of your surroundings and people’s feelings, and yeah, I went too far in certain situations.”
The timing of his firing and past scandals at NBC — most prominently Matt Lauer’s ouster over sexual assault accusations — reinforce Roenick’s belief.
“It’s important to know that at the time nobody thought it was bad what I was saying,” said Roenick, referring to his appearance on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast. “Nobody took offense to it. Nobody was saying anything on social media. Five days went by. Nothing on ‘Spittin’ Chiclets,’ nothing on my social media, nothing anywhere, nothing.
“Nobody complained until my boss, Sam Flood at NBC, decided that [what I said] wasn’t right, and we all know NBC has made a lot of mistakes covering up things and letting people slide, and all that stuff. I think this was their opportunity to make a statement, have a sacrificial lamb.”
Roenick, who announced his firing on Twitter on Wednesday, claims he can land another job right now.
“I’ve already had 5 or 6 opportunities to go work someplace. This was in within 2 hours of getting fired,” Roenick said. “I think having my own show where I can be me, where I can bring sports and hockey and not be as muzzled, be as opinionated as I possibly can. That’s definitely in the works. There are some really cool platforms out there that I’m looking at, or maybe I might start my own.
“I didn’t like to be muzzled, I didn’t like to be controlled, and unfortunately, NBC tried to do that too much, especially Sam Flood, my boss, tried to control me too much. And, unfortunately, I couldn’t be the real me.”