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Mariners deny former front office member’s allegation of discrimination; MLB investigating

Dr. Lorena Martin served as Mariners Director of High Performance for the 2018 season. (AP)

Update, 10:30 a.m. Tuesday: Major League Baseball has made the following statement on the allegations by Dr. Lorena Martin against members of the Mariners organization, according to reporter Ken Rosenthal: “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.”

The Seattle Mariners have denied allegations of racial and gender discrimination by their former Director of High Performance, Dr. Lorena Martin.

The Mariners released separate statements Monday afternoon and late Monday night, first noting that Martin was relieved of her duties on Oct. 10 and then denying allegations she made on social media Monday afternoon that the Mariners discriminate against Latino players, specifically Dominicans, calling them “outrageous” and “false.”

The Mariners’ first statement reads:

Lorena Martin was relieved of her duties with the Mariners on Oct. 10, 2018.

While it is our policy to not comment on personnel issues, we do feel it is important to respond to the outrageous, false claims made by her 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 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.

After an interview The News Tribune published Monday night in which Martin detailed specific allegations of discrimination by general manager Jerry Dipoto, manager Scott Servais and Director of Player Development Andy McKay, Mariners Vice President of Communications Tim Hevly provided statements to media members that cover the team, including 710 ESPN Seattle’s Shannon Drayer, that again strongly denied Martin’s accusations. The team then released another statement on its Twitter account at 11:05 p.m. in regards to The News Tribune story that call Martin’s “fabricated,” including that she had reported the incidents to the team’s Human Resources department and “specific allegations about people named in the story.”

Martin, who joined the Mariners prior to the 2018 season as the team’s first-ever Director of High Performance, posted on both her Twitter and Instagram accounts Monday that the “Mariners organization has major issues,” going on to allege that Dipoto, Servais and McKay called Latino players “lazy, dumb and stupid.” She also accused the Mariners of “firing innocent trainers for trying to do the right thing and because of their color/race.”

In a later response to a tweet from Mariners reporter Greg Johns about the Mariners’ first statement, Martin stated: “There was a breach of contract on the Mariners behalf – and I had reported many other discriminatory incidences to HR and other Mariners staff members throughout the season. And yes Leonardo Santiago and Jose Valdez, DR trainers were let go and not given new contracts. #truth”

Martin also replied to a tweet by Seattle Times Mariners reporter Ryan Divish that the Mariners “wanted to negotiate to keep me quiet.”

In the story published by The News Tribune, Martin accused Dipoto of calling her a “cocky Latina,” McKay dismissing Dominican players as “just plain stupid,” and Servais telling her she wasn’t allowed to attend a meeting with Mariners players in spring training because she is a woman.

Martin joined the Mariners in October 2017, coming from a stint as Director of Sports Performance Analytics with the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers. She holds a Ph.D in Exercise Physiology from the University of Miami.