An umpire who ordered a Latino player on an Albuquerque, New Mexico high school baseball team to stop speaking Spanish is the subject of a complaint filed by the player’s coaches. Corey Jones, who was the first-base umpire for a game between Gadsden High School and Alamogordo High School, told the Gadsen first-baseman to stop speaking Spanish, apparently because he thought there was some foul language involved.
Emmanuel Burciaga, an assistant coach at Gadsden, said that Jones told the Gadsden first baseman to stick to English or be thrown out of the game. Gadsden coaches asserted that when Burciaga asked Jones what was going on, Jones replied, “Anyone who speaks Spanish–coaches or players–will be ejected.” Burciaga responded, “Our players will not stop speaking Spanish, and they will not be ejected.” Burciaga stated that Jones “came walking toward me and said, `Another word from you, Coach, and you will be ejected.'”
At this juncture, the bilingual home-plate umpire told Jones players could speak Spanish if they wanted to, that he himself spoke Spanish and would monitor the players’ language. Burciaga commented that after Jones was corrected by the other umpire, he seemed angry.
Gadsden High School is planning to file a complaint with the New Mexico Activities Association. Burciaga said, “I’m not trying to get him (Jones) fired. My goal is to educate the person.”
The Gadsden Independent School District has a student body that is 97 percent Latino.