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MLB referee Angel Hernandez said the league “was manipulating the performance of ‘referees of color’ to make their performance appear worse” in a file it submitted to the Second Court of Appeals, according to Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic.
Hernandez sued Major League Baseball in 2017, arguing that the league had a history of discrimination against people of color in its governing ranks. Federal Judge J. Paul Utkin dismissed the case in 2021, but Hernandez is now appealing to a higher court.
“[A] Review of the year-end evaluations of Mr. Hernandez and his UERs [umpire evaluation reports] for the years 2011-2016 reveals that the MLB manipulated the year-end evaluations of Mr. in those seasons.
Major League Baseball has previously denied allegations of discrimination.
“Hernandez has not demonstrated leadership ability and situational management skills in high-pressure critical roles on a consistent basis,” former MLB baseball officer Joe Toure said in an affidavit, speaking about why Hernandez was not given the world championship job.
In 2021, Judge Utkin said in his ruling that Major League Baseball employs a “unfortunately low percentage of minority umpires,” but agreed with the league that the small number of non-white umpires appointed to major assignments like the World Series was not “statistically significant,” Partly because the league didn’t have many color umpires to promote in the first place due to diversity issues in those leagues.
Hernandez’s appeal discusses this particular interpretation of Judge Utkin, comparing it to a loophole that small businesses use when they fail to promote employees of color.