Hispanic group wants scout out Orioles' Lucchino gets letter urging Uhlman's resignation

February 27, 1993|By From Staff Reports

A national Hispanic organization has called for the resignation of Orioles scout Fred Uhlman, who was quoted as saying Mexican players lack speed and that it is a "genetic-type thing."

The National Council of La Raza, which lobbies on Hispanic issues in Washington, yesterday sent a letter to Orioles president Larry Lucchino urging Uhlman's resignation and asking for an investigation into the team's treatment of its Hispanic personnel.

"If Mr. Lucchino is serious that Mr. Uhlman's remarks do not reflect the attitude of the Orioles organization, then we believe he should not be a part of the organization," said Lisa Navarrate, a spokeswoman for La Raza.

Neither Lucchino nor Uhlman could be reached for comment last night.

On Thursday, Uhlman apologized and Lucchino orally reprimanded Uhlman for his remarks but also said that Uhlman's job was not in jeopardy. "I thought we had to have a talk with Fred and remind him of our fair employment practices," Lucchino said then. "The language he chose suggests racial grouping, and that is very dangerous."

Raul Yzaguirre, president of La Raza, signed yesterday's letter to Lucchino. "We are stunned that, in the wake of the Marge Schott controversy, veteran baseball officials so openly demonstrate their prejudices and ignorance about an ethnic group," Yzaguirre said in a release.

"Moreover, these remarks reflect the stereotypes -- both stated and unspoken -- about Hispanics that have excluded them from manager slots, the front office and other executive positions in baseball," Yzaguirre said. He also lamented the lack of national media coverage in the wake of Uhlman's quotes, which appeared in Thursday's USA Today.

"The larger question that continues to gnaw at us is what will it take to cause a public outcry when such statements are made about Hispanics. These remarks are just as offensive as the ones that got Al Campanis thrown out of baseball in 1987. . . . We cannot accept an atmosphere where stereotypical and racist remarks about Latinos are treated so cavalierly."

In the USA Today article, Uhlman said: "A lot of Mexicans have bad foot speed. It's a genetic-type thing. They have a different body type. Most all have good hands and good rhythm. That's why they dance so well. Rhythm is important in baseball, it means agility."

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