Woman says she was denied service at Comerica Park over Green Card

Posted at 10:53 PM, May 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-05 23:15:53-04

From Little League to the Major Leagues, baseball demands fair play. But lately that appears to be principle confined to the field.

Our national pastime is once again at the center of a national debate in America. Earlier this week, Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles condemned fans in Boston for using the n-word.

Now some are crying foul at Comerica Park.

“I felt unwanted. I felt humiliated,” says Palesa Matinde, who says she was denied service at Comerica Park. “I felt treated like a second-class citizen."

Matinde is a University of Michigan graduate from Zimbabwe. She went to a Tigers’ game last week with her husband.

They decided to check out Miller's Pitcher's Pub inside the ballpark-- where the manager refused to accept Matinde's federal government issued Green Card as ID.

"She said, 'we only accept United States government issued ID. My green card starts by saying United States of America permanent legal resident," she says.

Matinde says the couple tried to assure the manager a Green Card was a legal form of ID.

"She said, 'well, why don't you have an American driver's license? Or why don't you have an American passport?," Matinde says.

The manager told the couple she would check to make sure a Green Card was okay. She returned with the bouncer.

"Please take them out of here. We no longer want them in our establishment," is what Matinde says the manager told the bouncer.

Comerica Park officials blamed the incident on a lack of training and have apologized.

The couple is now consulting with civil rights attorney Bill Goodman - who believes a much larger issue has made its way from the political landscape to the game that exemplifies American virtue.

"This is a shining example of injustice 2017 style," says Goodman.

Baseball may be the national pastime but it's an international attraction, especially in Detroit. Fans routinely come from nearby Canada.

And then of course there are the players themselves: 40 of them from seven different countries, including the United States - a third of them with Green Cards that are legal forms of ID.