HARRISBURG, Pa. (CN) – A baseball coach claims the Veterans of Foreign Wars fired him for objecting to its rule that demands “Use of English Language Only (No Spanish or Foreign Language during the game between players or coaches.) If you can’t communicate in English don’t say anything.”
Jose Roman Sr. sued the VFW Post 23, of Lebanon, Pa., and its Lebanon Valley VFW Teener Baseball League, in Federal Court.
Roman, a native of Puerto Rico, claims that when he told the League its rule was “racist and unnecessary in that it had nothing to do with safety or baseball,” it responded that “if he objected to the rule, he could leave.”
Roman says decided to stay because he though his experience as a semi-professional baseball player would “be an asset to the teen-age boys who were trying to learn the game.”
But three weeks after he complained about the English-only rule, the league fired him, Roman says.
The complaint adds: “Shortly after plaintiff was fired, defendant Fred Gonzalez began telling other parents of boys who played in Defendants’ league that the reason plaintiff was fired was because he was stealing goods and materials from Shay’s Vending, the sponsor of the team plaintiff was selected to coach.
“This statement is false and was made with malice.”
Roman seeks punitive damages for discrimination, civil rights violations, defamation, and labor violations.
He is represented by Matthew Weisberg.