The Braves announced yesterday they were investigating the incident. As of today, they’re still looking into the allegations made by Quinn. McDowell has already issued an apology, which in this case serves as a per-emptive admission of guilt in my mind.
Athletes, coaches and team officials need to take note. Using anti-gay slurs in response to a bad call (I’m looking at you, Kobe) or to fan heckling won’t be tolerated in modern society. Fans, straight and gay alike, expect a certain level of professionalism from sports figures and the level of scrutiny that professional athletes, coaches, team managers and executives face on a daily basis is warranted. These guys are on our televisions every night of the week, hold fundraisers in our communities and represent our city when they travel across the country.
If the Braves find that McDowell did in fact threaten a fan and make anti-gay slurs, what punishment should he face? The NBA recently fined Kobe Bryant $100,000 for shouting a gay slur at an official during a game. Kobe, the Lakers and the NBA are all working with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to keep such slurs out of their sport in the future. Commissioner David Stern reacted swiftly and with purpose. Major League Baseball’s Bud Selig should take note.
If it were up to me, I would forget the fine and fire McDowell as soon as possible. There is no shortage of quality pitching coaches available. McDowell could easily be replaced before the weekend is over. Of course, it’s not up to me, and I’m probably more offended than the average Braves fan.
Reactions to the story online have been mixed. Some fans say that foul language is a part of the game and have dismissed the story as an overreaction. Others, like me, are calling for his rhetorical head.
This comment was posted by gremlinman on the MLB website:
“What a gab fest….If one doesn’t want their kids to hear abusive language and swearing, don’t sit them near any ball players or hockey players, or hockey fans, or football fans, or baseball fans, or any sporting fans, or MMA or anywhere else…PUT EARMUFFS ON THEM. This is because in the fervor of contests, people get riled up and cuss……..Stupid article.”
And this one from stu8042:
“Tell Mr. Quinn if he doesn’t want his daughters to hear or see things like this then spend the money to seat your family somewhere closer to homeplate. The outfield seats are where all the cheap clowns sit. If you’re so concerned for your kids, buy them seats behind the screen where everyone is a little more well behaved. It’s your duty as a father to prepare your children for what they’re going to hear at a professional sporting event. Why don’t you sue the three hecklers? Sue everyone! I hope if you win your suit you buy better seats.”
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, McDowell is expected to meet with team officials today. The Braves are returning home from an extended away session and will kick off a series against the St. Louis Cardinals Friday.
McDowell is facing a fine, a possible suspension and could even be terminated over his actions. Whatever punishment he receives, he deserves. We’ll find out soon enough.
Top photo: Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell (via mlb.com)