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Kansas City Chiefs Settle Age Discrimination Lawsuit

In the last half of the Kansas City Chiefs season, everything seemed to go right — an 11-game winning streak to end the regular season and their first playoff win since 1994. But in the courtroom, an age discrimination case against the Chiefs was turning problematic.

Court documents filed this week indicate the Chiefs have now settled the case out of court. Neither the plaintiff, former Chiefs maintenance manager Steve Cox, nor his attorney would comment on the settlement. The Chiefs did not respond to a request for comment.

Before the settlement, Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt was scheduled to give a deposition later this month.

Cox was fired during the Scott Pioli era. The case went to trial in 2013, and a jury found in favor of the Chiefs. But Cox appealed, and the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the trial judge improperly barred evidence that Cox had wanted to present. The case was scheduled to be retried this spring.

One of the missing voices from the first trial was Hunt's. Cox’s side wanted Hunt to testify under oath about what happened, but the trial judge refused to allow Cox to put Hunt on the witness stand.

Before the ruling by the Missouri Supreme Court last August, Hunt was asked whether he was concerned about the case.

“Any time that there’s a legal matter that you’re involved in, you’re always concerned,” he said. “I don’t specifically have concern on that issue, though.”

While the Chiefs prepared for the playoffs, Hunt already had his hands full. There were decisions to be made about the future of several Chiefs players set to hit the free agent market. And he was also on the NFL committee that looked at the movement of franchises. The committee recently recommended allowing the Rams to move from St. Louis back to Los Angeles.

The age discrimination case, which had dragged on for years, was likely to keep his name in the news. With the settlement, that’s no longer the case.

Sports have an economic and social impact on our community and, as a sports reporter, I go beyond the scores and statistics. I also bring the human element to the sports figures who have a hand in shaping the future of not only their respective teams but our town. Reach me at gregechlin@aol.com.
As a reporter covering breaking news and legal affairs, I want to demystify often-complex legal issues in order to expose the visible and invisible ways they affect people’s lives. I cover issues of justice and equity, and seek to ensure that significant and often under-covered developments get the attention they deserve so that KCUR listeners and readers are equipped with the knowledge they need to act as better informed citizens. Email me at dan@kcur.org.
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