Jason Bailey, a right winger who formerly played in the Anaheim Ducks organization, is suing the NHL franchise for religious discrimination, claiming his former coaches with the Bakersfield Condors minor-league team continually harassed him because he is Jewish.
A pro sports team in a town settled by Germans? A minor-league off-shoot in not-so-enlightened Bakersfield? Ravenous and likely Jewish lawyers?
My, this could get ugly.
The Ducks have not commented on the suit, which seeks unspecified damages.
Bailey was drafted by the Ducks in the third round in 2005 and signed a three-year
contract with the franchise in 2008. He was then sent to the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL.
From the time Bailey joined the Condors until the time he left, he was subjected to “severe and/or pervasive harassment on the basis of
religion,” according to the complaint filed in Orange County Superior Court Tuesday. The cited harassment included “a barrage of anti-Semitic, offensive
and degrading verbal attacks regarding his Jewish faith.”
The complaint singles out head coach Marty Raymond and assistant coach Mark Pederson. Raymond frequently said, “Jews only care about money and who's who” and that he “never wanted his son to be raised Jewish or to wear a Yarmulke,”
while Pederson, after approaching Bailey in the locker room, mentioned receiving a friend request on Facebook from “a dirty Jew,” according to the suit. The coaches are also alleged to have made Bailey travel separately and rarely let him on the ice because of his faith.
Bailey complained to the organization, and both coaches wrote letters of apology to him and were briefly suspended in the spring of 2009. Bailey's suit actually uses those letters as ammunition, claiming they prove the Ducks created such a hostile work environment its coaches had to admit to frequently using hurtful language.
Keith Fink, Bailey's attorney, tells The Orange County Register the Ducks did not go far enough. Fink says the coaches should have been fired, but they instead remained on the payroll while “they sent [Bailey] to Siberia.” Siberia would be Ottawa's Iowa and Binghamton minor-league teams.
Perhaps the least surprising aspect of this sad tale is the location of the alleged offense: California's own Siberia–Bakersfield. At least, that's the take-away from this post on Bakotopia (“part of the Bakersfield.com network”) titled, “Whores and Soccer Moms: What's the Difference?”
“The Jews next door still don't talk to you after that night you told
them they are going to hell. They won't cook for you ever again. You
don't care because your church says that you are supposed to alienate
people with different beliefs and being civil would be a sin.”
The Ducks cut its ties with Bakersfield last year.