One half of the Carolina Panthers’ longtime Spanish-language broadcasting duo is out of a job, and he says the breakup occurred after the team didn’t approve of his support for President Donald Trump in his personal life.
The Charlotte Observer recently spoke with Luis Moreno Jr., who told the outlet he has parted ways with the Panthers after management became upset over his penchant for sharing pro-Trump messages on his personal Twitter account.
On his support for the president, Moreno said he “found out that there are a lot of things that are happening that I wasn’t aware of that make me support him.”
He has been calling games in Spanish for the Panthers with his uncle, Jaime Moreno, since 2010.
The Moreno duo has brought an enthusiastic and distinctive fútbol feel to American football in Charlotte:
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 8, 2018
But politics got in the way of the decade-old relationship, at least for the Panthers, he said.
Moreno said the dustup began in April when he first shared his support for Trump on Twitter.
Panthers radio and television affiliate manager Eric Fiddleman asked him to remove all references to the Panthers on his social media account over his Trump support, and Moreno complied, he said.
But that wasn’t the end of it.
Untethered by being connected to his job online, Moreno became more active in expressing his support for Trump’s re-election on Twitter.
He was again contacted by Fiddleman, but he said he told his boss, “If what they want me to do is stop supporting the president, I’m not gonna do that.”
Moreno said he went up the ladder, attempting to reach Steven Drummond, the Panthers’ vice president of communications, but his calls and emails went unreturned.
Fiddleman made it clear, though, that Drummond also wanted the social media activity to stop.
As an independent contractor, Moreno felt he had done enough to appease his higher-ups with the NFL franchise.
“I’m hurt,” Luis Moreno Jr. says, “because this has nothing to do with my performance on-air. This has nothing to do with how good I am at what I do.”https://t.co/9IWp3RWMTc
— Théoden Janes (@theodenjanes) September 14, 2020
The rift created was insurmountable.
“Basically what I told [Fiddleman], I said, ‘Listen … I’m not even under contract right now. I am not willing to participate in this project anymore if I’m going to be censored. So unless they call me, I’m not going to do it anymore. Because I am not OK with them censoring my freedom of speech in support of the president,’” he told The Observer.
The team apparently had few reservations about letting him walk away from signing another contract.
The Observer reported that Fiddleman didn’t respond to a text message and Drummond declined to comment.
Moreno would have liked for things to have played out differently, but he said he plans to move on to another venture, which he said he would wait to do until he knows the outcome of the November election.
“I’m hurt,” he said, “because this has nothing to do with my performance on-air. This has nothing to do with how good I am at what I do. I’m one of the best, and I’ll put myself against anybody in the country when it comes to what I do in Spanish.”
He added, “None of my support for the president was done on any of their social-media pages, it was never done on any of the airtime — whether it was a podcast or a broadcast or anything related to the Panthers. This was solely on my personal time on my personal accounts.”
Moreno lived in Mexico until he was 14 and only recently became a U.S. citizen.
He told the newspaper he is excited about voting for the first time on Nov. 3.
“I think that it goes without saying that this is one of the most important elections in our lifetime,” he said.
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