Jim Evans academy sues minor league baseball
NEW YORK (AP)
A training academy owned by a former American League umpire filed an antitrust lawsuit against minor league baseball and its umpiring company Tuesday, claiming allegations of a racist bowling party were used as a pretext to revoke its accreditation.
The Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring filed the lawsuit in Orlando's Florida Circuit Court of the 9th Judicial District against the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues and the Professional Umpire Development Corp., alleging they are an illegal monopoly and unlawfully restrained trade.
''They used this event as an excuse to put a major competitor out of business,'' Evans said.
A big league umpire from 1971-99, Evans opened his academy in 1990 in Kissimmee. It was among two accredited ump training facilities, joined by the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School, until minor league baseball opened its own academy last year, The Umpire School in Vero Beach.
The suit says that at a bowling party in Kissimmee on Jan. 19, one of the six teams was named ''Klein'$ Kleanup Krew'' and wore gold-colored shirts and hats.
After a complaint by minor league umpire Anthony Johnson, the academy's only black instructor, the National Association revoked the accreditation of the Evans academy and fired the umpires on the bowling team in question.
''It was a lapse of judgment,'' Evans said. ''I knew absolutely nothing about it. These instructors organized this party.''
The academy's suit called it ''an exaggerated and trumped-up incident'' and accused the National Association of ''an abysmal record of diversity.''
Evans said that no one had signed up for his academy's 2013 session, while about 40-50 had attended annually in the past.
Pat O'Conner, president of the minor leagues' governing body, said he had not yet read the suit and could not respond until after he did.