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Roger McDowell apologizes for his actions; Major League Baseball and the Braves respond

Apr 27, 2011, 7:33 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves Photo Day Getty Images

Roger McDowell has apologized for his behavior at AT&T Park on Sunday. His statement:

“I am deeply sorry that I responded to the heckling fans in San Francisco on Saturday. I apologize to everyone for my actions. “

A Braves representative has added:

“We are concerned by these allegations and the behavior described by a witness today. This in no way represents the Braves organization and the conduct we expect of our employees.”

Bud Selig has weighed in as well:

“I was informed today that Roger McDowell, a coach of the Atlanta Braves, is being accused of engaging in highly inappropriate conduct toward fans at a game in San Francisco. Although I do not yet have all the facts regarding this incident, the allegations are very troubling to me. The Atlanta Braves have assured my office that they will immediately investigate the allegations, and report the results of the investigation to me. After I have all the facts, I will make a determination of how to proceed.”

Finally, TMZ reports that GLADD has eached out to the Braves in the hopes of partnering with the franchise to educate their employees about homophobic remarks.

I have no idea if this ends the matter. I doubt it does. At the very least McDowell will face discipline.  It doesn’t, however, sound like this is going to turn any more contentious than it already has become, as McDowell is apparently not disputing the allegations. Which, assuming they were accurate, represented horrible judgment and not a small amount of ugliness on his part.

  1. 1flyboy1 - Apr 27, 2011 at 7:46 PM

    This is worse than the Kobe situation. This is clear cut and dry homophobia, pure and simple, there is no debate about heat of the moment, there is no debate about was he speaking to himself or to someone else. This was Roger McDowell using homosexuality to verbally attack fans. And then used the threat of violence to shut everyone up who called him out on his behavior.

    I will be shocked and disappointed if there isn’t a suspension.

    • trevorb06 - Apr 28, 2011 at 10:30 AM

      It isn’t homophobia. It’s just McDowell being a massive prick.

      • tomemos - Apr 28, 2011 at 10:41 AM

        What would homophobia look like, to you? He insulted the men for being (he thought) gay–what else could he say that would make it homophobic?

      • trevorb06 - Apr 28, 2011 at 10:44 AM

        He didn’t truly think the man was gay, he was just using that as his avenue to be a massive prick. That is how insults work. I don’t truly think you have a head made of broccoli if I say you’re a broccolihead. That’s just the avenue of insult. McDowell wasn’t right in what he did. He was WAY out of line and should be punished.

      • tomemos - Apr 28, 2011 at 10:49 AM

        “He didn’t truly think the man was gay, he was just using that as his avenue to be a massive prick. That is how insults work.”

        Regardless: he insulted the men as gay. It doesn’t matter if he thought they were. If I insult you by saying “You’re probably a Jew” or “You look half-black to me” is that not anti-Semitic/racist? Seriously?

  2. paperlions - Apr 27, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    Obviously, I don’t know McDowell….but I can not imagine anyone saying such a thing out loud, in public, within earshot of dozens of strangers that isn’t a homophobe. This simply isn’t the kind of thing that would ever occur to a non-homophobe to say, ever.
    .
    In any case, I don’t think anything more than a short suspension, a sincere apology, and some “learn how to control your homophobia in public” classes is warranted.

    • sawxalicious - Apr 27, 2011 at 10:09 PM

      I don’t know why everyone is assuming anyone that says demeaning comments referring to homosexuals is a “homophobe” or “homophobic.” Maybe McDowell is not afraid of homosexuals…maybe he’s your average, run-of-the-mill ignorant a-hole…either way, his mean-spirited comments don’t belong in a ballpark……

      • paperlions - Apr 27, 2011 at 10:22 PM

        Because people that express such opinions in such circumstances are comfortable with those opinions and very likely say similar things in “safer” company on a regular basis. To draw an analogy, if a person lashes out at a stranger that is black by dropping the n-bomb, it is highly unlikely that it is the first time the person has used that word and highly likely that he/she uses that word so regularly that it came out automatically. When people lash out without thinking, they generally don’t break new vocabularial and ideological ground. Rather they stick to something familiar (e.g. most people have a favorite swear word that just pops out without thinking).
        .
        The odds that a non-homophobe would make the comments McDowell made in the situation he made them are very low. It isn’t an assumption, it just basic human behavior and logic.

  3. cur68 - Apr 27, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    I think McDowell deserves a suspension, fine and possibly some sensitivity training (only because it’ll be like penance for responding like he did. I don’t believe those courses actually do anything to change people). That’s about all this really warrants. Reality might be a bit different once Bud hears the details.

  4. couldntthinkofaname - Apr 27, 2011 at 10:48 PM

    We shouldn’t be surprised. After all, this is the guy who spit on Newman…..

  5. amhendrick - Apr 27, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    It’s not just the slurs, its the vulgarity and the threat to a fan there with his kids. I think he’s got to go, or at least a significant suspension.

  6. granted42 - Apr 27, 2011 at 11:01 PM

    I don’t feel the sincerity in his statement, and it might be more clear if I actually heard him say it instead of just reading it.

    While the homophobic remarks are troubling, I’m a little more concerned with the language, and more so the sentiment, of the remark about kids not belonging at a ballpark. As someone who played and coached in both the Minors and the Majors, how can you think kids don’t belong at a ballpark? My dad took me to the ballpark when I was a kid, and I love this game. I plan to take my little sons to games when they get a little older. That’s the way it’s been for many generations, and baseball needs it to go on for many more. Unproven pitching coaches are easily replaced, life-long fans not so much.

  7. bigtrav425 - Apr 27, 2011 at 11:14 PM

    Waaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! Someone called me a name so im going to yell and start something back and then when he threatens me im going to get a highly publicized lawyer so i can get 15 minutes of fame and maybe some money……give me a f/n break! this is insane..this guy is a pussy.after this people are really gonna think he is gay now after being a lil baby…jesus h christ this country is insane anymore makes me sick

    • tomemos - Apr 28, 2011 at 1:26 AM

      “jesus h christ this country is insane anymore makes me sick”

      The exits are located to the north and south and along the east and west coasts. Please avail yourself of them.

      • bigtrav425 - Apr 28, 2011 at 10:31 AM

        trust me i wish i could!..as much as i love this country its Entirely Too PC.its disgusting..i want to be pointed in the direction of the America that George Washington and company fought for becasue this sure as hell isnt it

      • tomemos - Apr 28, 2011 at 10:42 AM

        “…certain Inalienable Rights, among them Life, Liberty, and the Right to Call Anyone a F***ing Fag.”

      • jonahfalcon - May 1, 2011 at 8:37 PM

        He also threatened a father in front of his kids when he told McDowell to clean up his language, and said, “You like having your teeth” while motioning with a bat, you dumb fuck.

  8. Jonny 5 - Apr 27, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    I think people misuse the word phobia when it comes to describing a person who more likely feels he’s better than, and dominant to, homosexuals. In other words superior to (enough so that it’s an insult to “normal” men) Which is the opposite of fearing them, phobia means “to fear”. The guy is a jerk. I can’t believe a grown man in his position would act like that. I feel a suspension is adequate punishment. I can’t help but laugh somewhere in my warped mind picturing him demonstrating “lewd acts” with his bat while screaming at this poor family like a drunk teenager or something. What a dumba$$. If that was me there with my daughters that would probably be the “urge to get punching” feeling somewhere in my mind so I can’t blame dad a bit for rolling over on Roger.

    FYI This guy was teammates with Lenny Dykstra and came to the Phills with Lenny when the Mets were ripped off in the Samuel trade. The two of them probably got along perfectly…..

    • cur68 - Apr 27, 2011 at 11:32 PM

      He was teammates with Lenny? Didn’t know that. Sure helps explain some of the inexplicable sh!t he said. I’m nearly certain that any association with Lenny is deeply scarring and life altering.

    • tomemos - Apr 28, 2011 at 1:31 AM

      Jonny, all due respect, but this line of reasoning has gotten kind of monotonous in these threads, and in the discussion more broadly. Three points:

      1) Contrary to repeated assertion, “phobia” does not only mean “fear.” Someone who is “xenophobic” is afraid of *or averse to* alien or foreign things.
      2) Even if it did necessarily mean fear, so what? Is there hatred that is not truly based in fear? If homophobes truly felt superior to gay people, they’d leave them alone. Do you go attempt to insult and intimidate people who you don’t feel threatened by?
      3) Most importantly, as someone else pointed out, we need a word that means “hates homosexuals,” and none others are forthcoming. What is the point in quibbling about it?

      • Jonny 5 - Apr 28, 2011 at 8:43 AM

        Tomemos,With all due respect Everyone has things they hate or disrespect, but do not fear. Hate broccoli? Think they are the lowest form of veggie? Do you even call people a big broccoli head because you feel, “what could be a worse insult”? That doesn’t make you a broccoliphobic person imo. I was just pointing that out because I feel there are better and more direct ways to describe a person who acted as McDowell did. Such as a totally ignorant jackass. He was disrespecting everyone in that stadium who could see him, as well as anyone who’s offended by someone using anti-gay slurs. It’s not a good thing, and I wasn’t quibbling, I felt the word was being misused and said so, that’s it. You decided to quibble over it.

      • tomemos - Apr 28, 2011 at 9:23 AM

        Jonny, surely you can see the difference between a taste preference (broccoli) and a hatred for a group of people (homophobia)? Again, what word would you prefer for someone who expresses hatred for gay people?

        “I was just pointing that out because I feel there are better and more direct ways to describe a person who acted as McDowell did. Such as a totally ignorant jackass.”

        How is that “more direct”? There are many, many ways to be a totally ignorant jackass—Luke Scott is one, Frank McCourt another. McDowell was a particular kind of jackass, the kind that hates gay people. And if you look up “homophobia” in the dictionary I believe you’ll find it’s being used accurately here.

      • tomemos - Apr 28, 2011 at 9:33 AM

        And by the way, if my aversion to broccoli were as strong as you seem to be saying, such as that I thought “broccoli” itself was an insult, yes, I think “broccoliphobe” would be accurate. And I think you’ll find that’s the way the suffix -phobe tends to be used.

      • Jonny 5 - Apr 28, 2011 at 9:57 AM

        Really? Hey, I’m not trying to change your mind, not here to debate the use of a word either. It’s cool, keep calling it what you wish. I don’t really care that much. Just know that most of the time people will associate phobia with fear when you use it.

      • tomemos - Apr 28, 2011 at 10:04 AM

        Fair enough. And if I seem to be overreacting to a minor issue (word use), my apologies; it’s just a common debating point in threads like this and I might have gotten testy as a result.

      • Jonny 5 - Apr 28, 2011 at 10:59 AM

        No harm no foul. The “net” a trap for debating and arguing things that really don’t matter all that much anyway… Lol!

  9. clydeserra - Apr 28, 2011 at 1:26 AM

    Couple of thoughts

    • clydeserra - Apr 28, 2011 at 1:36 AM

      (sorry)

      Couple of thoughts
      1) AS people pointed out in the other thread, I can;t see a way that McDowell began a conversation with these people. I will reserve total judgement (such as it is) until independent witnesses tell me what the heckle was

      2) parsing the word homophobia is a dumb semantic argument and a waste of time

      3) As dumb, hateful, and mean as McDowell’s words were I hope he doesn’t lose his job. Maybe some public apology and sensitivity training,

      4) Didn’t this incident happen three days before the press conference? Why so quick? did McDowell or the braves have a chance to deal with this privately before the dog and pony show? How did this get organized so quickly?

      • dexterismyhero - Apr 28, 2011 at 12:18 PM

        glad to see everyone talking about baseball here…..

  10. mkd - Apr 28, 2011 at 2:19 AM

    So McDowell says he was responding to hecklers, right? I’d be very interested to know what they were saying and how long they were saying it, because it sounds to me like maybe the fans started this thing.

    That said 1) Wow Roger McDowell. Gay slurs. Really? You’re an idiot. 2) KIDS DON’T BELONG AT THE BALLPARK ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS SH!T? That might be one of the dumbest things I have ever heard uttered by a human being in my life. I know the slurs are the thing here, but jesus hippity-hoppin’ Christ on a pogo stick KIDS DON’T BELONG AT THE BALLPARK!?!? The mind reels…

  11. peachygr - Apr 28, 2011 at 8:28 AM

    Just because he’s an a-hole doesn’t mean he’s a homophobe. He’s a jerk, he should be reprimanded, go to sensitivity classes and the Braves should keep their man in check. Regarding the ballpark kids comment… I have friends and some family who get intoxicated, swear up a storm, and act like idiots at the ballgame. Appropriate? Not really. Should people who bring their kids be prepared to expose them to adults not exhibiting family friendly behavior? Yes, they’re in public. But my friends and family don’t pick on kids and if one is obviously in close proximity they try to tone it down. So on one hand I agree its not exactly Chuck E Cheese and parents should be aware that the world isn’t a kid-friendly place; but on the other hand people ought to have not only some self respect but respect for others and maybe not be jerk faces in front of the kids.
    And that’s how I feel about that.

  12. peachygr - Apr 28, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    Jonny 5 I totally agree. :)

    • trevorb06 - Apr 28, 2011 at 10:42 AM

      Jonny5 leaves yet another intelligent comment. I basically said the same thing earlier but some nozzles twisted it however they could.

  13. tomemos - Apr 28, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    Why is it so important to so many people that he not be called a homophobe? HE INSULTED PEOPLE FOR BEING GAY. Not, like, “I personally think it’s wrong,” but “Are you a homo? Do you take it up the a**?”

    It’s seriously alarming that people want to act like insulting people for being gay is exactly the same as just generic jerkery. It just isn’t.

  14. 1flyboy1 - Apr 28, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    Anyone saying this isn’t homophobia, I’m sorry, is delusional. McDowell mocked and verbally harassed 3 men due to his perceiving them to be gay. That’s clear, that’s blatant, and that’s homophobia pure and simple.

  15. jonahfalcon - May 1, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    Ignoring the gay slurs, he also threatened a father in front of his children with a bat.

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