MLB umpires wearing white wristbands in protest of 'escalating verbal attacks'

Mark Townsend
·Yahoo Sports Contributor
Ian Kinsler's confrontation with and criticism of veteran umpire Angel Hernandez is fueling a protest by the umpire's union. (AP)
Ian Kinsler’s confrontation with and criticism of veteran umpire Angel Hernandez is fueling a protest by the umpire’s union. (AP)

The World Umpires Associated, the union that represents Major League Baseball umpires, released a statement on Saturday announcing that umpires have started wearing white wristbands in collective protest to what it calls “escalating verbal attacks on umpires and their strong objection to the Office of the Commissioner’s response to the verbal attacks.”

The statement specifically notes Ian Kinsler’s very public criticism of Angel Hernandez following his ejection from a game on Monday.

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The league levied a fine against Kinsler after he told reporters that Hernandez should consider a new career and had to stop ruining baseball games. The umpires believed Kinsler’s comments warranted a suspension.

Here’s the full statement from the union:

And here’s the text as it pertains to Kinsler.

“This week, a player publicly and harshly impugned the character and integrity of Angel Hernandez — a veteran umpire who has dedicated his career to baseball and the community. The verbal attack on Angel denigrated the entire MLB umpiring staff and is unacceptable.

The Office of the Commissioner has failed to address this and other escalating attacks on umpires. The player who denigrated Hernandez publicly said he thought he would be suspended. Instead got far more lenient treatment — a fine. He shrugged that off and told reporters he has ‘no regrets’ about his offensive statements calling for an end to Hernandez’s career.

According to the union, umpiring crews will continue wearing the wristbands until it believes the commissioner’s office has taken their concerns seriously.

The protest officially started with Saturday’s Blue Jays-Cubs game in Chicago.

The Commissioner’s office has yet to release an official response to the umpire’s protest. But we did hear from Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and from Ian Kinsler himself following their loss to the Dodgers on Saturday afternoon.

It’s worth noting that Joe West was recently suspended for three games for comments critical of Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre. It’s also worth noting that Angel Hernandez is currently embroiled in a racial discrimination lawsuit again the league.

Needless to say, the building tensions between the league and the umpires will be a major storyline as baseball gears up for the stretch run.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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