Robbie Lopez and his family are accusing the Los Altos (Ca.) coach of benching him for not participating in a fundraising game.
The family of a California high school baseball player is suing his coach for repeated benching that the lawsuit claims amounts to "harassment and bullying." According to documents obtained by the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, the family is seeking at least $150,000 in retribution.
Robert Lopez II, the father of 17-year-old Robbie Lopez, believes the coach of Los Altos, Gabriel Lopez (no relation), benched his son throughout his senior year because of a dispute over a fundraising game. Robbie Lopez did not participate in the game, and his father complained to the school's athletic director about it. Robert Lopez II believes that incentivized the coach to bench his son, who had been a starter for three years before the new coach's arrival. California law prohibits requiring players to fundraise as a prerequisite for participating in public school activities.
“For over four (4) months and 14 games, (Robbie Lopez) has been benched and not the opportunity to show his offensive or defensive capabilities,” the suit states.
The family's lawyer, Michael Ponce, says this is not the normal case of a coach using his discretion to bench a player in favor of another.
“It’s more of a targeted situation," Ponce told the Valley Tribune. “These are repeated actions by the coach, which we feel, my client and I, as well as his father, feel are intentional. They’re targeted against (my client) specifically.”
Despite accusing the coach of harassment and bullying, the suit reportedly does not include any mention of derogatory comments or insults made by the coach toward Lopez.