The conceit of a Friday night news dump is to bury a story in the blur of the impending weekend. Sometimes, however, the news really does come as 9-to-5ers have one toe out of the office door. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has acquired a copy of an internal email sent to all Mariners employees this afternoon at 3:45 PM PT. The email is penned, or at the very least ascribed, to Mariners CEO and chairman John Stanton. The link to Rosenthal’s article is here. I’ve included the entirety of the email in block quotes below, broken up into sections worth commenting on.
The Mariners have been in the news quite a bit these last few days. As the week draws to a close, I wanted to give you my perspective and an update. I apologize for not reaching out sooner.
The disturbing allegations Dr. Lorena Martin leveled this week against three of our top baseball executives were shocking and totally unexpected. I want you to know that we worked for months with Dr. Martin to try to resolve concerns about her job performance and her workplace behavior. Dr Martin never made allegations against our executives during these conversations. Unfortunately, our efforts were not successful, and on October 10, she was relieved her of her duties.
A week later, Dr Martin made allegations of racism and sexism were raised for the first time. We took those allegations seriously and our Human Resources and Legal departments did a thorough internal review, which found there was no basis for the claims. Major League Baseball has now launched its own investigation, which we fully support. We are confident the outside review will reach the same conclusion.
The first two paragraphs echo the story we’ve heard thus far from the Mariners. According to Seattle, there were difficulties with Dr. Martin performing her job, ultimately to the point that the organization felt the need to remove her from the role she’d been hired to do less than a year into a three-year contract on October 10th. What is new, or at least clarified, is that according to this email, Dr. Martin leveled charges of racism and sexism just one week after being relieved of her duties - somewhere in the range of October 17th. Whether they were the same specific accusations as those she published to Instagram and Twitter nearly a month later, on November 12th, is uncertain. The reason that could matter is that Dr. Martin has made a statement that could be read as contradictory to that timeline:
The Mariners previously made a statement denying Dr. Martin’s above statement about reports to Human Resources. While this situation is muddled at the moment, it seemingly would be easy to resolve the veracity of at least one set of claims. Dr. Martin stated she “reported many other discriminatory incidences to HR and other Mariners staff members throughout the season.” The Mariners seem to say there was indeed an HR investigation into her claims, but that the first time she made claims of racism and sexism was following her termination. It’s also possible that each party is outlining different incidents, and that these are not technically contradictory, although that only further serves to muddle things further.
The allegations against Jerry Dipoto, Scott Servais and Andy McKay are shocking because they are completely inconsistent with who they are and what the Seattle Mariners stand for. I have spent time with Jerry, Scott and Andy including two trips to the Dominican Republic and have never observed them or any of our personnel making disparaging, racist or sexist comments. Nor has anyone stepped forward to corroborate Dr Martin’s allegations or make their own allegations against Jerry, Scott or Andy.
Joining Manny Acta’s statements from earlier this week, Stanton puts his experience with the front office members accused forward as a rebuttal of the accusations.
I’m proud that our city, organization and clubhouse have long been known as comfortable, safe and welcoming places for employees and players of all nationalities. We have one of the most diverse teams in the MLB. Our baseball decisions are driven by a desire to draft, sign and retain as many of the best players as possible without regard for race. The same applies to the Front Office.
We have strived to cultivate, develop and support diversity among our players and our staff at all levels of our organization, and will continue to do so. We have worked hard over the years to ensure that the Mariners treat every employee fairly and with respect and dignity.
As you know, we are in the midst of an evaluation of our workplace and thanks to your feedback, we are making strides in reshaping our organization’s culture. We will have more on that process next week.
If you have had a different experience here at the Mariners or have any concerns, I want to know about them. Please email me directly, reach out to Human Resources or report your concerns confidentially through the Mariners Help Line. I encourage you to share your concerns so that we can act on them and help our organization become even better.
Thank you for your hard work and positive attitude even under difficult circumstances.
In all, little new information, but a bit more clarity about the timeline of the situation. Additionally, we’ve got what could be seen as a further digging in on the point of whether reports to HR were made or not by Dr. Martin. Dr. Martin, of course, described retaliation for the alleged mid-season HR reports as the core impetus for what she believes was wrongful termination. It’s tough to imagine, barring a significant leak from one side or another, we receive much new information until MLB concludes its investigation, but hopefully clear resolution can be found soon.