Los Angeles (AFP) - Major League Baseball said Tuesday it has started an investigation into racism claims by the former Seattle Mariners director of high performance against the team, charges denied by club officials.
"MLB is aware of the allegations made by a former employee of the Seattle Mariners regarding the conduct of Club employees. Consistent with our policies, we are investigating the allegations," a Major League Baseball statement to The Athletic website said.
Dr. Lorena Martin, relieved of her duties with the team last month, made racial discrimination claims in a statement Monday posted on Twitter attacking several Mariners executives, including manager Scott Servais, general manager Jerry Dipoto and player development director Andy McKay.
"The Mariners organization has issues. The things I've witnessed first hand have left me shocked," Martin tweeted.
"GM Jerry Dipoto, Manager Scott Servais, and Director of PD Andy McKay speak about players like this Calling LATINOS, LAZY, DUMB, and STUPID, especially the DOMINICANS
"And they wondered why they didn't make it to the playoffs."
The Mariners went 89-73 this year, one game behind Tampa Bay in seventh overall in the American League. It was Seattle's most wins in a season since 2003 but the Mariners still haven't reached the playoffs since 2001.
"Leadership is to blame, under Jerry Dipoto's leadership no team has made it to the playoffs and they will continue to miss the playoffs with him in his position. Poor leadership," Martin wrote.
"It's come to the point where I have to speak out because they are firing innocent trainers for trying to do the right thing and because of their color/race."
The Mariners replied with their own Monday statement on Twitter, noting Martin was dropped last month.
"While it is not our policy to comment on personnel issues, we do feel it is important to respond to the outrageous, false claims made by heer today on social media. And to note that Martin did not make any of these false allegations until after she was relieved of her duties," the team statement said.
"The Mariners categorically deny that any member of our management or coaching staff made racist remarks regarding any of our players or staff. Additionally, we have not terminated (or threatened to terminate) any trainers during the off-season."
Martin responded on Twitter, saying she had reported several racial incidents to the club's human resources department and citing two trainers who were not issued new contracts even though they were not technically terminated.
"I had reported many other discriminatory incidences to HR and other Mariners staff members throughout the season," she wrote. "And yes Leonardo Santiago and Jose Valdez, DR trainers were let go and not given new contracts."