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‘Criminal’ charges against UCLA football players ‘have nothing to do with racial tensions’

A civil rights lawsuit filed Monday by UCLA football player Cam Newton alleges racial bias against African Americans in the NFL.

The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims the players are being punished for playing football against other blacks.

“Defendants have intentionally discriminated against and punished black athletes in the NCAA and the NFL by preventing them from playing together on the same team and preventing them (Black players) from attending football games and other sporting events,” the suit says.

The complaint also accuses the NFL of violating federal civil rights law by denying Black players equal opportunity to play.

“The NFL has a long history of excluding and punishing Black players who play football in the Black community, and the league has an inherent interest in maintaining its monopoly on the game,” it says.

In a statement, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league is aware of the lawsuit.

“Our team is focused on the players and our players are focused on us.

We’re reviewing the matter,” Aiellos statement said.

The NFL, which is currently in the midst of its regular season, plays its first game on Oct. 28 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Aiella said the lawsuit seeks $15 million in damages.

The Associated Press