A Jewish hockey player sued the National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, claiming that coaches of one of its affiliate teams subjected him to harassment and anti-Semitic remarks.
Jason Bailey, 23, is seeking unspecified damages in the action filed in Orange County (California) Superior Court against the Ducks, the Bakersfield Condors and coaches Martin Raymond and Mark Pederson.
“Sorry, we can’t comment,” said Alex Gilchrist, director of media and communications for the Ducks.
According to the complaint, Bailey endured “a barrage of anti-Semitic, offensive and degrading verbal attacks regarding his Jewish faith” from Raymond, head coach of the Condors. Raymond, according to the lawsuit, would say, “they (referring to Jews) ‘only care about money and who’s who.’ ”
It also claims that Raymond said “he never wanted his son to be raised Jewish or to wear a yarmulke.”
Assistant head coach Pederson made anti-Semitic remarks about Bailey, the suit alleges, including, “well, I don’t know if we can trust him with the money; he’s Jewish.”
Bailey, who was drafted in 2005 by the Ducks but has not played in the NHL, was rarely given ice time and was not provided with resources “that were fully available to the hockey players who were not Jewish,” he argues.
According to the lawsuit, Bailey in 2009 complained to the Bakersfield coaches about the “anti-Semitic hostile work environment” and spoke to Anaheim Ducks assistant general manager David McNab, who told him the organization “found his complaints unbelievable.”
Bailey was sent to the Iowa Chops, where he got no playing time, the athlete contends.
The Ducks tried to send him to the Central Hockey League, but when he claimed the move would be a breach of his contract, the team backed down and suspended Raymond and Pederson briefly and told them to write apology letters, the lawsuit states.
Bailey claims the letters were insincere. In one, 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.
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, who was traded, now plays right wing for the Binghamton Senators, a farm team for the Ottawa Senators.
“The Ottawa Senators Hockey Club does not comment on legal matters regarding members of its organization and those under contract,” said Phil Legault, vice president for communications.
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