Carlos Gomez says he was ridiculed by a newspaper column that used a direct quote in the Houston Astros center fielder's second language of English.
Speaking to ESPN Radio's Max y Marly in Spanish on Thursday, Gomez told ESPN's Max Bretos and Marly Rivera that he tried to conduct an interview with Houston Chronicle columnist Brian T. Smith in English and was demeaned by the quote used in the article.
"That person knew exactly what he was writing, and he did it intentionally to ridicule me," Gomez said. "... I do not wish for him to lose his job because he may be a father and have a family, but he should have given a better thought process before writing such comments. Because [he] not only [hurt] a Dominican, but every Latino who makes an effort [to learn] the language."
In the Chronicle column, published last week, Gomez was quoted as saying, "For the last year and this year, I not really do much for this team. The fans be angry. They be disappointed." Many, including Gomez, believed the quotation was meant to make him seem foolish.
Gomez was also criticized for his flashy style but slow start to the season after being a key addition at last year's trade deadline. He is hitting .196 with zero home runs as the Astros have staggered to a 14-22 record.
"With all due respect to what [reporters] do, they deserve respect, but people like him who want to f--- with you because they can f--- with you, they should be suspended or fined, just as someone on TV is fined who says something inappropriate," Gomez told Rivera. "People like this should be fined as well."
Gomez also took to Twitter to call out Smith after the column was published.
The article generated debate on the treatment of players who aren't native speakers of English as well as on ethics and diversity among journalists.
"If we are talking about a subject between us and you know we don't dominate the language properly, whether it is Spanish or English, you guys are the ones who studied this to perfect and polish our words," Gomez said. "That is your job. My job is to express myself."
Gomez said the column was disrespectful to Hispanic players who move to the United States at a young age and are trying to learn English.
"You feel discriminated. It is like that some people don't appreciate the effort we put in," he said. "The same way when an American journalist tries to speak Spanish, I admire and immensely respect that because that person is making an effort and trying to learn and speak my language. So to that person, I take my hat off and show him respect and would greet him with respect anywhere I'd see him."
The 30-year-old Gomez, a native of the Dominican Republic, was signed by the New York Mets in July 2002 at the age of 16.
All 30 MLB clubs received a directive in January requiring them to hire full-time Spanish translators for the 2016 season. The program was negotiated between the commissioner's office and the players' union.
Gomez said he would rather not use the translator, though.
"As a baseball player, I like to express myself the way I want to, not that I say something and an interpreter makes it prettier," he said. "I would like it if a reporter sits and listens to me and then writes things -- but in a professional way, not in a way to make fun of me like he did."
In 2015, 29.3 percent of Major League Baseball players were Latino, according to the MLB Racial and Gender Report Card, an increase from 28.4 percent in 2014.
Information from ESPN senior writer Jerry Crasnick and The Associated Press contributed to this report.