Umpire Who Clashed With Joe Torre Loses Baseball Bias Case
(Bloomberg) -- Major League Baseball won dismissal of a lawsuit by an umpire alleging he was discriminated against for promotions and World Series assignments because of his race, after a federal judge found the evidence fell short.
Longtime umpire Angel Hernandez claimed he was denied promotions to crew chief and assignments to World Series games because he is a Cuban-born Latino. The six times he was denied a crew chief position, the job went to a White umpire instead, even though he consistently received “exceeds standard” ratings in his field evaluations and year-end performance reviews, according to the ruling.
U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken in Manhattan found that the criteria for promotion relied more heavily on other factors, including leadership and situation management and other subjective matters left up to baseball executives. He also found that the executives routinely promoted junior White umpires over more senior ones on the basis of their perceived qualifications and that MLB had assigned Latino umpires to the World Series in 2011 and 2015.
Hernandez’s lawyer, Kevin L. Murphy, said he and his client believe the ruling is wrong on the law and might appeal it.
“No employer should be able to get a pass on minority advancement by arguing successfully that its pool of minority employees eligible for promotion is so small that it can’t be blamed for failing to promote them,” Murphy said.
The case was also notable for claims Hernandez made that he was denied promotion by Joe Torre, the former Yankees manager who became an MLB executive, over a beef stemming from a 2001 game in which Torre criticized a call Hernandez made. Torre maintained that Hernandez hadn’t consistently demonstrated high levels of performance and that he seemed to have become preoccupied with a 2013 blown call in an Indians-Athletics game that continued to undermine his performance.
The case is Hernandez v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball and Major League Baseball Blue Inc. 18-cv-9035, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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