NFL Spanish-Language Broadcaster Says Supporting Trump Cost Him His Job

Luis Moreno Jr. spent a decade as one of the Spanish-language broadcasters for the Carolina Panthers. Now, during a time of player protests, fist raising and kneeling for the game's national anthem, the team has parted ways with Moreno, who has made social media posts that support President Donald Trump and other conservative movements.

This comes as Moreno became a U.S. citizen just three weeks ago—after 28 years in America.

Moreno was an independent contract worker for the Panthers over the last 10 years. He was there when the Panthers did poorly, and he was there when they made it to the Super Bowl after the 2015 season. He was there when the Panthers said the 2012 Democratic National Convention could use Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte for Barack Obama's speech to accept a nomination for reelection before 74,000 people.

Now, Moreno's not there because of a stalemate between him and the NFL franchise—over his pro-Republican posts—he says.

Moreno told Newsweek he believes his contract was not renewed, solely because, he publicly supported Trump.

"I know 100 percent it's why they did not renew my contract," Moreno told Newsweek. "But given the state of the country with people taking political stances, for me to not be given one is a double standard."

Luis Moreno Jr.
Jaime and Luis Moreno Jr. are caught on the air during warmups of a Carolina Panthers game. Luis, who worked games for 10 years, will not call the Spanish-language broadcast anymore after his pro-Trump social media posts, he says. Photo courtesy of Luis Moreno Jr.

Here's the back story. Once the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, Moreno found more down time at home. He found online conservative-leaning outlets that aligned with his own personal beliefs. He published things through his personal Twitter, which said on his biography that he was a broadcaster for the Panthers. Moreno said the Panthers told him to delete the posts if he had their affiliation as his bio.

Moreno didn't delete the posts, but rather replaced the Panthers affiliations on his bio with pro-Trump hashtags.

The Panthers met with Moreno to try and quell the posts that Moreno continued to make, and Moreno said he felt like the Panthers were basically trying to censor him.

He didn't back down, and the silence between Moreno and the Panthers sent the loudest signal. Moreno said he never heard from the team to renew his contract. Moreno said any social media posts he made were his own thoughts, through his personal channels and not during company time.

"I am not willing to participate if I'm going to be censored," Moreno said. The NFL season began last weekend, and Moreno wasn't calling the game with his uncle, Jaime Moreno. Instead, Luis was at home with his family.

Meanwhile last Sunday at Bank of America Stadium, many Panthers players took a knee in protest during the national anthem—an act not censored by the team—while a new rookie color analyst called the Panthers game in Spanish broadcasts.

Luis Moreno Jr. was born in Mexico City and moved to the U.S. when he was 14, he told Newsweek. He found football as an outlet during his formative years, and he eventually landed a gig helping his uncle on some broadcasts. Then, he got a break in 2010 to sit in the booth for Panthers games.

Jaime and Luis Jr. brought a different flair to American football. Imagine this: Take your typical Spanish call of a World Cup knockout game, add an NFL touchdown, a Cam Newton flip, Superman pose and breath-taking calls that go so long that it seems like the announcer needs a paper bag to breathe in, and that's just a sampling of one play from the Morenos calling Panthers games.

Here's the call from Cam Newton's touchdown flip against the Houston Texans.

"I'm hurt," Moreno said in the Charlotte Observer, "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. 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 told Newsweek that people from countries all over the word have tried fleeing to the United States so they can seek a better life. Those reasons might be political, economical or personal.

"People are running away from countries, whether it's communism, socialism or poverty, where they cannot work or live," Moreno said. "And they're coming here.

"This is the right time, and the right place, for me to speak about the freedoms we have here in this country."

NFL Spanish-Language Broadcaster Says Supporting Trump Cost Him His Job | Sports