Our friend Darin Gantt of the Rock Hill Herald and the Charlotte Observer has taken issue, sort of, with our report regarding the termination of Panthers scout Pete Russell.
Writes Gantt, “Despite a report this afternoon that the Panthers fired scout Pete Russell, the reality isn’t nearly as sensational as it sounds.”
The reality is that the Panthers told Russell his contract won’t be renewed. That’s a very polite way of pulling a Donald Trump. Either way, the Panthers have fired Russell.
(And if G.M. Marty Hurney’s contract isn’t renewed, the headline definitely will be that he was fired.)
Regarding the scuttlebutt that the Panthers plan to go younger in the scouting department, Gantt points out that Russell is 45 (five years over the legally protected threshold), and that three older scouts remain on the payroll. But none of that matters if the Panthers “go younger” with Russell’s replacement, especially if the evidence otherwise supports that the Panthers have indeed opted to consciously commence the process of swapping out older scouts for younger ones.
Every company that ever is sued for age discrimination points to every other employee on the payroll who is 40 or over as proof that there’s no age bias. It doesn’t matter. If the decision to fire the plaintiff was motivated in whole or in part by age, and if the replacement is substantially younger, liability potentially attaches to the move.
Most glaringly, Gantt’s article overlooks the fact that the Panthers squatted on Russell for a full month after the draft, which as a practical matter makes it harder for him to get a job elsewhere.
Bottom line? There really wasn’t anything for Gantt to clear up. The differences come only from semantics.