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Lorena Martin files lawsuit against Mariners after racism accusations

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SEATTLE -- Dr. Lorena Martin filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit Friday against the Seattle Mariners just a month after accusations of racism against the team.

Martin, hired in 2017 by the team to oversee its physical and mental training, posted last month on social media accusing general manager Jerry Dipoto, manager Scott Servais and director of player development Andy McKay of racism toward Latinos.

“Calling LATINOS LAZY, DUMB, and STUPID, especially the Dominicans,” she wrote.

Martin wrote that there were things she’s “witnessed and heard first hand” that shocked her, and said she decided to speak out because the team is “firing innocent trainers for trying to do the right thing and because of their color/race.”

Q13 News obtained a copy of the lawsuit filed Friday in King County Superior Court. According to the suit:

Martin alleges that she was discriminated against based on her race and gender.

She also alleges that the Mariners failed to provide "a safe working environment and engaged in retaliatory conduct."

The suit claims she was terminated without "cause" and is entitled to severance benefits for the remainder of her contract which was through Oct. of 2020.

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The suit includes a list of complaints against Dipoto, including a number of ways in which she claims her responsibilities were diminished over time.

The complaint says many Latino players told Martin that they were "being intentionally left out, felt excluded during meetings and conversations, and were treated differently than Caucasian players."

Martin also claimed that Dipoto on several occasions blamed Latino players for "ruining the Clubhouse culture, for losing games" and the Mariners not making the playoffs.

It said Dipoto took steps to deliberately undermine the mental state of star pitcher Felix Hernandez.

Martin's lawsuit counters claims by the team that she did not approach anybody with complaints of racial and gender discrimination before making accusatory Instagram posts last month that led to her termination.

The Mariners in November denied the allegations in a statement:

“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.”

Major League Baseball is investigating.

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