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The New York Post
Selim Algar and Bruce Golding

A gay former catering worker at Brooklyn's Barclays Center says the Houston Rockets committed an offensive foul by showering him with homophobic slurs inside their locker room after a game against the Nets.

Rasean Tate, 28, of Brooklyn, claims in a suit filed Tuesday that he was setting up a post-game buffet for the Rockets last year when the visiting hoopsters hurled the anti-gay epithets his way.

"When the plaintiff's back was turned to defendant Rockets players, he began to hear laughter and taunting voices saying, 'Get this f----t out of here!' and 'He's trying to catch a sneaky peeky!' " court papers say.

None of the players who allegedly made the remarks were identified by name.

Tate's Brooklyn federal court filing seeks unspecified damages from the Rockets for "sexual orientation discrimination."

The suit also names Tate's ex-employer, Levy Restaurants, for allegedly aiding and abetting the abuse, then axing him over his complaints about the Feb. 22, 2013, incident.

Tate, who is gay, says a Nets employee "witnessed the entire episode" and told Tate to "just leave" the locker room and let him "take care of it."

Two days later, Tate went to his supervisor, and the matter was brought to the attention of the NBA, the Rockets and the Nets, which made its players undergo "tolerance and sensitivity training," the suit says.

The Nets - who are not named in the suit - recently made headlines by signing Jason Collins, the only openly gay athlete in the four major men's leagues.

But Tate says Chicago-based Levy - which also runs food concessions at Wrigley Field, Walt Disney World and London's O2 Arena - retaliated by barring him from plum assignments in locker rooms, dressing rooms and VIP areas, slashing his OT and pay.

In June, he wasn't assigned to any dressing or locker rooms during the NBA draft, and in August, he was "removed from the VIP event section" during the MTV Video Music Awards show, according to court papers.

Tate also alleges that in January he got chastised for a series of trumped-up work violations - including "retrieving a fork for a customer" - before being suspended and "taken completely off the schedule."

Neither the Rockets nor Levy responded to requests for comment.

April 2, 2014

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