‘I would like to apologize’

Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell addressed a small group of reporters today at Turner Field on his first day back to the club after a two-week suspension handed down by Major League Baseball after McDowell allegedly using anti-gay slurs against San Francisco Giants fans last month.

McDowell was also accused of threatening Justin Quinn, a father of twin daughters, who asked him to watch his language in front of children at the April 23 game at San Francisco AT&T Park. Quinn made the allegations against McDowell in a press conference with high-profile attorney Gloria Allred.

McDowell did not use the word “gay” at any time during the press conference nor did he admit or deny the allegations. He did, however, apologize again for his actions and said that kind of behavior would not happen again.

“Needless to say I’m glad back to be with the Braves and I would like to thank the organization for the support over the last couple weeks,” McDowell read from a prepared statement before taking questions.

“These past two weeks … have been very humbling, emotional and a reflective time for me and my family to better understand about what has happened,” McDowell said, appearing to be tearful and pausing while he read.

“I have and will continue to learn from this and am committed to being a productive member of the Atlanta Braves organization and this coaching staff,” he added.

“In addition I would like to apologize to anyone who was offended by my actions. I am not proud of the way I acted and know that will not happen again,” he said. “I understand the responsibility that we all have in this game.”

When asked what he would like to say to gay Braves fans, McDowell said, “Well, I would like to apologize — if anyone was offended by my actions that occurred in San Francisco. My intent was not to hurt anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings. I apologize for that.”

McDowell also acknowledged he has undergone sensitivity training and that it is an ongoing process. He declined to say what specifics were being discussed as part of the training, saying the issues were “private.”

McDowell said he spoke on the telephone with Quinn sometime during the past two weeks to personally apologize. He also said that conversation was private.

When asked if McDowell felt his side of the story was fairly represented, he said there was no reason to rehash what may or may not have been said because it would not be productive.

Braves President John Schuerholz appeared at the press conference with McDowell, saying he was glad to have the coach back.

Photo: Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell, in uniform for the first time in two weeks, addresses reporters with Braves President John Schuerholz at his left. (by Dyana Bagby)