Mariners deny ex-employee's claims of racism toward Latino players

The Seattle Mariners on Monday denied claims of racial discrimination made on social media by Lorena Martin, the team's former director of high performance.

The team said in a statement that Martin was fired last month, on Oct. 10. The team did not give a reason for her termination.

She had been hired by the team last offseason for the then-newly created position to coordinate "all aspects of the Mariners' physical and mental training approach of players and staff, including oversight of the entire organization's medical, strength and conditioning, nutrition and mental skills departments."

Earlier Monday, Martin made allegations in an Instagram post that general manager Jerry DiPoto, manager Scott Servais and director of player development Andy McKay have called Latino players, especially those from the Dominican Republic, "dumb" and "stupid."

She said she decided to "speak out because they are firing innocent trainers for trying to do the right thing and because of their color/race."

Martin related some of the specific incidents in a Monday night interview with The News Tribune. Martin said when she balked at some of her responsibilities being handed to McKay, DiPoto said, "You know what you are? You're a cocky Latina." When she defended herself, she said McKay told her, "Well, you know, sometimes you're just plain stupid."

She also told The News Tribune that Servais told her that you don't see Latino managers or catchers because "they aren't bright enough. They are dumb." She also noted that Servais told her the reason she could not sit in on a staff meeting with players to discuss families was "honestly, it's because you're a woman."

The Mariners said in their statement that Martin didn't "make any of these false allegations" until after her termination.

"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 offseason."

Martin replied on Twitter to the Mariners' statement, calling it a "breach of contract."

"I had reported many other discriminatory incidences to HR and other Mariners staff members throughout the season," she said.

Before joining the Mariners, Martin was the director of sports performance analytics for the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers.