Paul Ferraro worked under George O’Leary as Central Florida’s defensive coordinator for approximately two months this winter. According to a lawsuit Ferraro filed on Friday, those had to be the worst two months of his three-decade career.
Hired in late December and gone by early March, Ferraro is accusing O’Leary of racist remarks and creating a work environment “permeated by bullying, threatening behavior, and repeated discriminatory epithets.” He accuses O’Leary of referring to the NFL as “one big ‘Ru-Ru’ tribe” and encouraging his assistants to “make sure (African-American players’) gums are blue, because they are bigger and stronger than (African-American players) with red gums,” according to a copy of the suit obtained by USA Today.
“No longer will I put up with your constant verbal abuse of both our coaching and support staff,” Ferraro emailed to O’Leary while copying the coaching staff. “Threatening coaches on a regular basis with their jobs and racial slurs mixed in to make a point is wrong.”
For its part, UCF is denying everything.
“UCF immediately investigated the allegations Mr. Ferraro made when he abruptly abandoned his job,” UCF vice president of communications and marketing Grant Heston emailed USA Today. “The university’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action office found the allegations to be untrue.
“None of the individuals alleged to have been the subject of, or to have overheard, these supposed statements corroborated Mr. Ferraro’s claims. In fact, until seeking compensation after abandoning his job, it does not appear he ever discussed this with anyone at UCF.”
Translation: “This dude is making the entire thing up.”
Of course, the basis for all of this is money. The school claims Ferraro resigned, and Ferraro claims he was fired without cause. He thinks he is owed $15,000 in salary on the two-year, $440,000 contract he signed. UCF maintains it has paid Ferraro what he is owed.
Ferraro was hired away from Maine in late December, just days before UCF’s win over Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl, and left the staff on March 5. He returned to the Maine staff as defensive coordinator on March 29.
Ferraro claims he because he “wanted to return to work in an environment free from O’Leary’s bullish and discriminatory tactics and that he did not and was not resigning.”
And around and around we go.
This is the type of suit that had better be true, otherwise Ferraro has damned his former boss to a lifetime of search returns pairing “O’Leary” with “racist”, all in the name of a money grab. In the always-online culture we live in, that’s (allegedly) one of the sorriest stunts a person can pull.