SBD/January 28, 2011/Franchises

NHL Investigating Discrimination Suit Against Ducks' Former Minor League Team

The NHL is “investigating what could be an explosive lawsuit filed by minor league player Jason Bailey against the Anaheim Ducks, alleging he was subject to systemic and repeated abuse while in the Ducks' farm system because he is Jewish,” according to Scott Burnside of ESPN.com. The suit, filed Tuesday in California, refers to a period of time when Bailey “was playing with the ECHL Bakersfield Condors, then a farm team of the Ducks.” Among the allegations in documents are that Condors coach Martin Raymond and assistant coach Mark Pederson “repeatedly made racial slurs referring to Bailey's Jewish faith.” Raymond allegedly told Bailey that Raymond's ex-wife was Jewish "and that she was a 'bitch' for taking all of his money." The suit also claims that when the team was “discussing who should look after monies collected for a team party,” it is alleged Bailey's name came up and Pederson said, "Well, I don't know if we can trust him with the money. He's Jewish." Burnside noted Ducks Owners Henry and Susan Samueli are “well-known philanthropists who have been lauded for their generous support of Jewish causes.” The NHL had no comment, but sources said that the league is “investigating the allegations to try to find out if the claims of abuse are true and what the Ducks knew about the situation, when they knew about it and how they responded.” Among the “most damning pieces of the lawsuit are letters of apology from both coaches for their comments to Bailey.” In an undated letter included in the statement of claim, Raymond wrote in part, "It was not my intention to offend you. The intent was to have a jovial moment. … Now that I understand that you were offended, I will no longer engage in this type of behavior nor condone it." In a letter dated March 2, 2009, Pederson wrote in part, “It was not intended to insult or hurt you in any way, but it did, and for that I am truly sorry” (ESPN.com, 1/27).

WHAT DID THEY KNOW? In California, Curtis Zupke noted Ducks management is “not specifically named in the complaint.” Bailey’s attorney, Keith Fink, Thursday said that Bailey brought the issue to Ducks GM Bob Murray and Senior VP/Hockey Operations David McNab in ’09 and “was told that Raymond would be fired and the Ducks would cease their partnership with the Condors.” Fink: “For Anaheim to claim to have no knowledge of this is an outright lie.” Raymond remains the head coach of the Condors, but the Ducks no longer have an affiliation with the minor league team (OCREGISTER.com, 1/27).
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