KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A former employee of the Kansas City Royals Urban Youth Academy is suing the team for racial discrimination and a hostile environment, but the team says the allegations are “without merit.”

According to court documents, Cleitus Ross says he was subject to a hostile environment, and subsequently fired from his position, because of his race.

The Royals responded on Wednesday saying the Urban Youth Academy does not discriminate on basis of race, color, disability, gender, religion, age, or sexual orientation.

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.

Kansas City Royals

Ross alleges that the the Urban Youth Academy’s mission was shifting and his position was going to change, but says the Royals knew he would not agree and was fired.


Ross’ lawsuit says he was fired in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and is entitled to an award of “punitive damages in an amount sufficient to punish the Royals or deter the Royals and other similarly situated employers from like conduct in the future.”