Roger McDowell made a mistake. Okay, he made several mistakes, since, during Braves' batting practice at AT&T Park, he decided to use homophobic slurs towards kids and also did some sort of profane motion with a baseball bat. (You can use your own imagination on that one.)
And now he's paying the price, as he's been placed on "administrative leave" by the Braves and suspended by Major League Baseball. On Sunday, Bud Selig released a statement that insensitivity to others "simply cannot and will not be tolerated." MLB also fined McDowell an undisclosed amount of money.
From the Braves press release:
The Atlanta Braves have placed pitching coach Roger McDowell on administrative leave pending the completion of the investigation surrounding the events from this past Saturday in San Francisco.
In the interim, Minor League pitching coordinator, Dave Wallace will serve as the team’s acting pitching coach.
This is where things are interesting to me, because -- and I probably should have used this word earlier in the post, but whatever -- McDowell still only "allegedly" did this stuff, right? That's what everyone is saying.
But, McDowell's already apologized, right? Right.
"I am deeply sorry that I responded to the heckling fans in San Francisco on Saturday," McDowell said in a statement. "I apologize to everyone for my actions."
Okay, so he didn't say "I'm sorry that I made a perverse motion with a baseball bat." But still, it seems like he's at least acknowledging his actions.
Whatever, the important thing here is that right now, it stinks to be a Southerner. Though McDowell is actually from Cincinnati, this incident will make people continually associate the Braves with people who don't exactly have the most open minds in the world.
Perhaps you've heard of John Rocker?
What McDowell did or did not do to San Francisco fans might or might not be as bad as Rocker; though just a few weeks ago Kobe Bryant did something on a similar plane, though arguably less derogatory, I suppose, picking and choosing when it's okay to say things that are hurtful to different segments of the population simply isn't acceptable.
Hopefully the Braves will use this incident -- should they investigate and find out that McDowell did do the things that have been alleged -- as a teaching moment for the suddenly very-close-watching public about things that shouldn't be acceptable just because they occur in the context of baseball and the South.