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Manatee, Fla., sheriff's deputy says real reason he was fired is that he's gay (with WTSP video)

From the Bradenton Herald:

By JESSICA DE LEON, jdeleon@bradenton.com

MANATEE -- A Manatee County sheriff's deputy, fired for what the sheriff's office said was his involvement with anabolic steroids, claims he was terminated because he is gay.

deputyRobert Craig, 35, was terminated after an undercover operation into the buying and selling of steroids by deputies. Craig and three other deputies were fired, including two who have been criminally charged.

Craig is fighting his termination, claiming he never had any interest in purchasing the drugs, but was interested in a sexual relationship with a former deputy.

An internal affairs investigation determined there was improper conduct, and the sheriff's office moved to fire him for "conduct unbecoming an officer."

Craig will go before a Career Services Board at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday to appeal his firing.

Craig said he was given the option of resigning or being terminated. The deputy refused to resign and insists his homosexuality becoming public is why he is really being fired.

"That is absolutely ridiculous," Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube said. "The investigation stands for itself. The guy was negotiating for steroids and that is conduct unbecoming."

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