The former major league reliever apologized in a statement, but the team barred him from the bench heading into a three-game series against St. Louis.
The Braves’ minor league pitching coordinator, Dave Wallace, will take over for McDowell during the investigation. Major League Baseball has said it’s waiting to hear from the team before deciding on possible penalties.
Atlanta general manager Frank Wren planned to address the media before tonight’s game.
In another instance of a sports figure hurling anti-gay slurs, Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell is been accused of targeting a group of male fans during a road game against the Giants in San Francisco. He allegedly taunted the men, asking them, “Are you a homo couple or a threesome?”
More details emerged, as mega-lawyer Gloria Allred announced a motion against McDowell at a press conference yesterday. Allred is representing a family of four – including two 9 year-old girls – who claim that they watched in horror as McDowell proceeded to use a baseball bat to simulate gay sex after making the homophobic remark.
The family also says that McDowell screamed at the fans, asking, “Are you three giving it to each other in the *ss?” The father of the plaintiffs then confronted McDowell from the stands about his behavior, and he responded, “Kids don’t belong at the f*cking baseball park.” McDowell then approached the stands with his baseball bat, asking, “How much are your teeth worth?”
Allred and the family demanded an apology, and a fine from Major League Baseball, and they got neither. Well, that’s not entirely true.
McDowell responded with the following statement soon after the press conference:
I am deeply sorry that I responded to the heckling fans in San Francisco on Saturday. I apologize to everyone for my actions.
What’s missing from this apology, and something that at least set Kobe Bryant’s apart, was the explanation for why it was wrong. Mr. McDowell, why did you think it necessary to use homophobic remarks to respond to these heckling fans? Why did you threaten a father with a baseball bat? Why did you simulate sex on the field? Why do you seem to think that children do not belong at what is a national family sport?
When people in sports spout homophobic remarks and display generally offensive anti-gay behavior, it shocks us that they don’t both say “I’m sorry” and explain why their behavior was wrong and inappropriate. They need to be role models – and adults. We hope that the MLB and the Atlanta Braves don’t let this issue slide. He should be punished and fined for his actions on the field, because he represents Major League Baseball and his employer, the Atlanta Braves.