Kansas man sues Royals organization alleging race discrimination, hostile work environment

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas man is suing the Kansas City Royals organization, saying it fired him because he is Black.

Cleitus Ross also said that, in addition to racial discrimination, he also faced a hostile work environment at the Kansas City Urban Youth Academy.

In 2016, the Royals broke ground on the facility near 18th and Vine streets.

On their official website, the Kansas City Urban Youth Academy states their goal is “Empowering Kansas City’s youth through baseball and softball, as well as academic and social opportunities, to be the leaders of tomorrow.”

In the lawsuit, Ross said he was fired last year because the Royals knew he would oppose a plan to attract elite players of all backgrounds, not just inner-city kids.

Ross filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in August. In May, his attorneys said the agency delivered a right-to-sue notice.

KMBC reached out to the Royals for a response. The organization released this statement:

“The allegations put forward are wholly without merit. The Kansas City Royals organization will vigorously defend itself in this lawsuit. We are confident that once the facts are presented, they will make clear why we should prevail.

“Since opening its doors in 2018, the Urban Youth Academy (UYA) has dedicated itself to bettering the lives of youth throughout the Kansas City region, regardless of race, color, disability, gender, religion, age, or sexual orientation.

“We remain unequivocally committed to UYA’s goals and will not be deterred by this effort to undermine important and impactful work for the youth of our community.”

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