Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bailey Sues Ducks, Minor League Team & Coaches Alleging Discrimination Based On Anti-Semitism

Former Ottawa 67's and current Binghamton Senators winger Jason Bailey has sued the Ducks, the Bakersfield Condors and coaches Martin Raymond and Mark Pederson in Orange County (California) Superior Court.

The focus of the action is that coaches of Condors subjected him to harassment and anti-Semitic remarks. The lawsuit contends that Bailey was the victim of religious discrimination, harassment based on religion, intentional infliction of emotional distress and retaliation. It claims he lost income, benefits and suffered humiliation. Bailey is suing for unspecified damages, which is normal in these types of cases.

While I haven't seen the Complaint yet, expect it to allege violations of the human rights legislation (that's where discrimination/retaliation tie into this), breach of contract, wrongful termination and the tort intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The news of this lawsuit has already hit TMZ and CNN. This is sure to be big news, particularly given the culture of sports and the manner in which players routinely greet each other. If this is not settled, it is possible that it could result in a shift in sensibilities across hockey (or result in a discussion and maybe an NHL statement on the matter).

The Ottawa native has accused members of the ECHL Bakersfield Condors' coaching staff of unleashing a "barrage of anti-Semitic, offensive and degrading verbal attacks" toward him.

It was alleged that Raymond stated that Jewish people "only care about money and who's who" and that he"never wanted his son to be raised Jewish or to wear a yarmulke." It is also alleged that Pederson stated that bailey could not be trusted because "he's Jewish."

Bailey has also alleges that he was forced to travel apart from the team due to his religion.

The Complaint contends that the Ducks asked the coaches to write apologies. Bailey characterized them as insincere.

Pederson allegedly wrote, "I guess I never stopped to think about the impact my statement would have on you or how it would make you feel. It was not intended to insult or hurt in you in any way, but it did, and for that I am truly sorry."

A letter from Raymond states, "As a French-Canadian, I too have come face-to-face with bigotry and understand how such remarks can negatively affect lives." He wrote that he no longer would continue the behavior, according to the lawsuit.

Bailey, who was drafted in 2005 by the Ducks but has not played in the NHL, was rarely given ice time and has alleged he was not provided with resources "that were fully available to the hockey players who were not Jewish".

1 comment:

Daniel Gilbeau said...

Interesting story, the smoking gun could be the letters of apology. Too bad the only time hockey gets big expose on TV in the United States is when something like this is brought to view. Good luck to Jason Bailey in his fight against those coaches and the organization. I wonder how Brian Burke would have handle this situation if he was still the GM of the Ducks when Bailey brought up these charges.