Tom Benson's Former Assistant Accuses Benson's Wife of Racial Discrimination

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIJanuary 19, 2016

FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2014, file photo, New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson sits on the sideline with his wife Gayle Benson before an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in New Orleans. Tom Benson, who owns the Saints and NBA's Pelicans, asserted in a statement released Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015,  that removing his daughter and grandchildren from the operation of his sports franchises _ and inserting his wife of 10 years in their place _ will ensure the clubs’ long-term stability and future in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Bill Haber, File)
Associated Press

Rodney Henry, the former assistant to New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans owner Tom Benson, stated in a court filing Tuesday that Benson's wife, Gayle, subjected him to racial discrimination before he was dismissed from the Saints organization in June 2015.

According to a report by's Katherine Sayre, Henry accused Gayle Benson of saying in 2014 (Warning: Link contains NSFW language), "I hate that black son of a b---h and am going to get rid of him."   

The amended complaint Henry filed Tuesday lists Gayle Benson as a defendant and adds to the lawsuit he filed in November, which asserted Tom Benson owed him money for working overtime. 

The Saints released a statement on the lawsuit:

According to the suit, Henry was allegedly subjected to working as many as 14 to 16 hours a day. Since he wasn't in a managerial role, "his job duties should have classified him as an hourly employee entitled to increased wages over 40 hours," according to the suit, per Sayre. 

Another episode described in the lawsuit occurred during the Saints' 2014 training camp in West Virginia, where Henry was allegedly forced to stay in a room that featured child-size bunk beds and didn't have towels or air conditioning.

The lawsuit describes what later happened in that particular situation, per Sayre:

The next morning, Mr. Benson was outraged that Mr. Henry was being required to stay in an inferior room and, in front of Mrs. Benson, told Mr. Henry to move to a full-size room on the second floor in the main hallway. As soon as Mr. Benson left the room, Mrs. Benson looked at Mr. Henry and screamed 'I hate you.'

Henry was Benson's assistant for 25 years before being cast off, and his amended complaint also asserts he was mixed up in a quagmire among the Benson family.

Benson, 88, allegedly no longer has contact with his daughter and two grandchildren and has decided to relinquish ownership of the Saints and Pelicans to his wife. The younger relatives had filed a lawsuit arguing Benson was mentally incompetent to make such a judgment and are now appealing after Benson was declared competent.