The Seattle Mariners are arguably the worst-run franchise in baseball.
Their front office ineptitude invariably leads fans to say every September: “Thank goodness the Seahawks are here so we have something to watch besides the baseball team’s annual September choke job.”
At least the Marlins won a couple of World Series; the Mariners haven’t been to the playoffs since 2001 and didn’t even have their first winning season as a franchise until their 15th year in the league. They didn’t even get a ballpark anyone would actually want to watch sports in until 1999.
So it should come as no surprise that the Mariners are the subject of a lawsuit alleging mistreatment of one of their star players: the guy who finally put pitching wins as a valid statistic to bed when he won the Cy Young Award in 2010 on a 61-101 team, himself going 13-12 on the mound.
The pitcher, of course, is Felix Hernandez.
The lawsuit claims the team discriminated against Latino players, and that manager Jerry Dipoto “took steps to deliberately undermine the progress and mental state” of Hernandez, according to The Associated Press.
The plaintiff is Dr. Lorena Martin, the team’s former high-performance director, who further alleges she tried to voice her concerns to owners John Stanton and Buck Ferguson and CEO Kevin Mather before the 2018 season even started.
The team disputes Martin’s assertion that she approached anyone with claims of racial and gender discrimination before posting her allegations on Instagram.
In addition, “the lawsuit says Dipoto blamed Latino players for ruining the team’s clubhouse culture and a second-half collapse that left the Mariners out of the playoffs for the 17th consecutive season,” The Seattle Times reported.
Major League Baseball is investigating, but the Mariners have aggressively denied all of Martin’s claims.
They have characterized the Instagram posts as “outrageous” and “false,” and furthermore insinuated that she made up the allegations after being fired in October.
Martin also alleges the Mariners harmed Hernandez’s mental state by letting the media know the team was thinking about removing him from the starting rotation.
According to Martin’s suit, these were “affirmative measures to undermine and harm” the pitcher.
Similarly, the lawsuit alleges the team refused to allow Martin to come with the team and train Hernandez during a road trip in June, and that this caused the pitcher to injure his back.
The lawsuit is ambitious in its demands. Martin “wants compensation for past and future financial losses, as well as full severance benefits for a three-year contract that was to have run through October 2020,” the AP notes.
In addition, she’s trying “to force the team to implement policies that provide equal opportunities to all employees,” according to the outlet.
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