Suit accuses Mariners of discrimination, targeting Hernandez

AP

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Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — A wrongful-termination lawsuit filed by the Seattle Mariners’ former high-performance director alleges she went to team owners John Stanton and Buck Ferguson and CEO Kevin Mather as far back as March to complain about alleged discriminatory treatment.

The lawsuit also says several Latino players complained to Dr. Lorena Martin about feeling excluded and that general manager Jerry Dipoto took midseason steps to deliberately undermine the progress and mental state of star pitcher Felix Hernandez.

Martin’s lawsuit, filed Wednesday, counters claims by the team that Martin did not approach anybody with complaints of racial and gender discrimination before making accusatory Instagram posts last month that led to her termination.

The Seattle Times reports that the lawsuit states Mather, after hearing Martin’s complaints about Dipoto, vowed to address the matter and put a stop to what Mather viewed as bullying.

And 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 Mariners have denied Martin’s allegations and Major League Baseball is investigating.

The Mariners, in responding to Martin’s social-media posts, had termed her accusations “outrageous” and “false” and said she hadn’t made any of the allegations “until after she was relieved of her duties” in October.

The lawsuit says that in July, Dipoto and manager Scott Servais “took affirmative measures to undermine and harm” star pitcher Hernandez by “messing with” his mental state. The Mariners throughout that month had let it be known they were contemplating pulling Hernandez from the rotation and putting him in the bullpen — which they finally did in early August.

Martin says Hernandez had asked the Mariners to allow her to accompany the team on a late June trip to New York, Boston and Baltimore to train him, and that Dipoto refused. The pitcher subsequently injured his back.

The lawsuit seeks to force the team to implement policies that provide equal opportunities to all employees. She also 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.

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