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MLB umpire Angel Hernandez’s racial discrimination suit dismissed by U.S. District Judge

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Angel Hernandez, one of the most controversial and least popular umpires in baseball today, had his discrimination lawsuit against Major League Baseball thrown out by a judge in New York City. 

Hernandez, now 59, sued MLB in 2017, alleging that he had been passed over for promotions and professional honors because of his race. Hernandez is a native of Cuba. In part, Hernandez’s suit targeted MLB chief officer Joe Torre for not promoting Hernandez to crew chief or giving him coveted World Series assignments. However, U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken on Wednesday dismissed Hernandez’s suit. Via the AP, Oetken’s decision reads in part: 

“Hernandez’s handful of cherry-picked examples does not reliably establish any systematic effort on MLB’s part to artificially deflate Hernandez’s evaluations, much less an effort to do so in order to cover up discrimination. The evidence shows beyond genuine dispute that an umpire’s leadership and situation management carried the day in MLB’s promotion decisions.”

“The explicit reason MLB offers — that according to Torre, Hernandez ‘has not demonstrated the leadership ability and situation-management skills in critical high-pressure roles on a consistent basis’ — is presented in clear and specific terms.”

As well, Judge Oetken cited the selection of Alfonso Márquez to work the 2011 and 2015 World Series, writing that it was “a promotion that seemingly would not have been made were MLB discriminating on the basis of race or national identity.”

According to Hernandez’s attorney, he’s likely to appeal the decision.

Hernandez has been an MLB umpire since 1993. He hasn’t worked a World Series since 2005. According to Hernandez’s suit, Torre held a grudge against the umpire since 2001 because of a call made against the Yankees, whom Torre managed at the time. In 2020, Hernandez was made an interim crew chief after a number of umpires elected to sit out as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Hernandez also worked the Padres-Dodgers NLDS during the 2020 postseason but was not selected to work the World Series.




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