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The Braves place Roger McDowell on administrative leave

Apr 29, 2011, 3:18 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves Photo Day Getty Images

Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Braves have placed pitching coach Roger McDowell on administrative leave pending the outcome of their investigation into the anti-gay slurs and otherwise poor behavior he allegedly displayed toward a fan at AT&T Park last Sunday.

In the meantime, Dave Wallace — the Braves’ minor league pitching coordinator — has been named interim pitching coach.  Wallace, you’ll remember, is a former pitching coach for the Mets, Dodgers and Red Sox.

McDowell apologized publicly for his actions.  This move suggests that an apology may not be good enough for the Braves and Major League Baseball.

  1. Old Gator - Apr 29, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    Sad, sad. This whole sorry episode brings back memories of Roger McDowell the happy-go-lucky clubhouse comedian of the Mutts in their mid-80s heyday, pairing with fellow Mephistophelian Howard Johnson to poise pails of water over doorways and to wad up matches and bubblegum with unparalleled skill – and then crawl under the dugout bench to administer hotfeet to his teammates. Hard to envision him now as a middle aged bigot and loudmouth on the verge of spitting and cursing his way out of baseball.

    However, given his rancid homophobia, I’m sure he could always find a job as a midlevel executive with the Boy Scouts.

    • BC - Apr 29, 2011 at 3:40 PM

      I know. What happened to this guy? Was he drinking or something?

      • purnellmeagrejr - Apr 30, 2011 at 11:27 AM

        If he was he was doing it on the job –

        He’d be a good candidate for extended group counseling to get over his hatred for gays.

  2. bleedgreen - Apr 29, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    Calling someone a ‘fa**ot’ is not necessarily ‘rampant homophobia’ or even homophobia at all. Its a term that is part of culture for a LOT of people. I call my buddies fa*s all the time, and its has nothing to do with homosexuality. I have plenty of gay friends and they understand it. Hell, most of them call people fa**ots too. Its just that in San Francisco, thats a bit more touchy than it would be in Atlanta or pretty much anywhere on the East Coast.

    • Joe - Apr 29, 2011 at 4:03 PM

      Aggreed on the first point, but there was a bit more to it than that. If that was the extent of the incident, he wouldn’t have been suspended.

    • mkd - Apr 29, 2011 at 4:09 PM

      You should stop calling your buddies fags.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Apr 29, 2011 at 5:04 PM

        mkd knows what he or she is talkin’ about. Just stop saying it, brah. Pretty easy. Definitely a lot easier than it is to stop making dead hooker jokes, which I’ve been known to do.

      • bleedgreen - Apr 29, 2011 at 5:17 PM

        Or… you could not worry about what other people are doing if it doesn’t affect you. Thats whats wrong with this country these days. Everyone thinks that the way they live their life, and the way that they act is the only proper way to do so. Different things have different meanings to different people in different places. Chooch is a derogatory word in some cultures and dialects… but Carlos Ruiz doesn’t get offended by it. Are you going to tell people to stop calling him that because a group of people find it offensive? No matter what it is, someone somewhere is offended by it. Live your own life and let others live theirs until it affects you in some way.

      • tomemos - Apr 29, 2011 at 5:23 PM

        Okay. But this is all irrelevant to this incident with McDowell, who did call some people something offensive–intending to insult them–and did bother lots of other people in the process. So was what he did wrong (and homophobic), or not?

    • tomemos - Apr 29, 2011 at 5:02 PM

      And if you say, “Are you guys a homo couple or a threesome? Are you guys taking it from each other up the a**?” that also “has nothing to do with homosexuality?”

      “Its just that in San Francisco, thats a bit more touchy than it would be in Atlanta or pretty much anywhere on the East Coast.”

      What does that even mean? Seriously.

    • luckywi - Apr 29, 2011 at 9:54 PM

      Yeah, I’m pretty sure you don’t get it. Head to New York and toss it around. see where it gets you.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Apr 30, 2011 at 11:28 AM

      It was a whole lot more than calling one guy a name.

  3. jupiter999 - Apr 29, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    So who’s gonna deal with all the ******* in the stands while this blockhead is “on leave” ?

    Someone’s gotta take care of business for those tobacco chewin heros.

    The poor Braves are in a mess now.

  4. SmackSaw - Apr 29, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    Replace him with John Rocker.

  5. mikedi33 - Apr 29, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    Agreed McDowell used poor judgement however I doubt he started the incident. The fans had to have caused it. He clearly overreacted but it is unfair for him to pay a steep price while the fans who were wrong get nothing.

    • tomemos - Apr 29, 2011 at 5:04 PM

      “Caused” it? How did they “cause” it? What could someone say to you that would make you say what McDowell said to those fans?

      • bleedgreen - Apr 29, 2011 at 5:18 PM

        What if they called him an N-word?

      • Utley's Hair - Apr 29, 2011 at 5:37 PM

        1.) Take a look at him. They’d be idiots, then, which would make it idiotic for him to respond.
        2.) Self control would dictate that he shouldn’t respond. He (allegedly) threatened a guy with knocking his teeth out (potentially criminal), made lewd gestures in public (potentially criminal) and used foul and inappropriate language in front of fans/customers/consumers (I’m guessing would be against the policy of his employer).

      • clydeserra - Apr 29, 2011 at 5:39 PM

        I am not going to go as far as say the fans caused it, but I think it would be helpful in context and may even mitigate his idiotic behavior if there was something that he was reacting to. It may not mitigate it, but I’d like to know.

    • tomemos - Apr 29, 2011 at 5:25 PM

      The other thing to remember is that McDowell is a public figure, the fans aren’t. If they say something offensive, they get thrown out of the stadium; the consequences for him are more serious than that. If that strikes him as unfair, he should find a line of work where he doesn’t have to wear his name on his clothes.

    • Utley's Hair - Apr 29, 2011 at 5:30 PM

      (I will preface this with the requisite “based on what info is out there.”)

      So you’re arguing that he should have been allowed to threaten a guy with knocking out his teeth, whether it was in front of the guy’s kids or not? And using foul and inappropriate language toward fans/consumers/customers? And making lewd gestures with a bat in front of fans/consumers/customers? Because I’m pretty sure any/all of the preceding would run anybody the risk of suspension and/or dismissal, no matter what you do for a living. It’s called self control, and he lost it.

    • luckywi - Apr 29, 2011 at 10:10 PM

      Yeah, that guy who was offended by the swearing and homophobic remarks in front of his kids deserved to be threatened to have his teeth knocked out by that guy with the bat. What a fool. Just eat your popcorn, and let your children be exposed to ignorance. In fact, why the f### are your kids at the ballpark anyway? Kids shouldn’t be at the f###### ballpark anyway!

      • luckywi - Apr 30, 2011 at 10:00 AM

        That two people disagree with tis statement is just sad. It’s obvious sarcasm, but I think it’s because I called him a homophobe. For some reason, homophobes, don’t like it when people are called homophobes. Weird.

  6. mofoe56 - Apr 29, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    he’ll be lucky to keep his job…..he forgot these were regular people, not dumb jocks in the locker room….

  7. purdueman - Apr 29, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    This guy is a real tool who has serious issues and should be fired IMMEDIATELY! If he were working in corporate America, he already would have had his desk cleaned out, his security badge confiscated and been given a wedgie out by the HR Director out the back door!

    • The Baseball Idiot - Apr 30, 2011 at 1:04 AM

      As an HR Director, I can tell you that you’re completely wrong. He would not have been fired immeditately, had his badge confiscated, or been escorted out of the building.

      What would happen is, there would be a preliminary investigation, probably within two days, talking to as many people as possible to get an idea of what really happened from all sides, not just one high-profile lawyer shooting her mouth off in order to get as much publicity and money as possible.

      If there preliminary investigation found enough to warrant an in-depth investigation, the accused party could either be suspended, or put on restrictive duties away from the area/people that the issue corresponds to. People get paid while suspended, and you might as well keep an eye on them and get some work out of them. The company has a responsibility to the accused party in case he is found innocent of the charges.

      Only after a further investigation from someone removed from the incident (in this case, one of the front office guys not involved in day-to-day field activities) would a decision be made, and then a further termination hearing after.

      It could be expedited inside of a week, but that isn’t really due process, and usually takes a minimum of two weeks so the company can do all the things it needs to do correctly in order to avoid a wrongful termination suit.

      Also, giving a wedgie would be considered sexual harassment, and the HR Director would be out the door also.

      Making things up because you want them to be true doesn’t really mean they are true. Cartoon characters don’t really live through explosions and falls from cliffs. Sorry to be the one to break the news to you, but it’s time to grow up and live in the real world.

      • supersnappy - Apr 30, 2011 at 8:01 AM

        Thanks for the real-life details, you paint a great picture of how the process works, and why McDowell wasn’t fired right away. I think Purdueman’s point is that no employer would tolerate an employee treating a customer in this way. And I think he was kidding about the wedgie

  8. crash1582 - Apr 30, 2011 at 8:59 AM

    I am a die hard Braves fan and am not happy about loosing a pitching coach to such an event. Coaches are paid (and paid well) to coach baseball, not to respond to whatever drunk idiot is yelling from the stands. Same goes in every sport, you job is on the field and should not be concerned with fans in the stands. If there is an issue, let the security personell know and they can take an $80 escort out of the park. Players/Coaches that have spent as much time in the league as McDowell has, should have a pretty good understanding of this rule.

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