Atlanta Braves coach suspended two weeks without pay for anti-gay slurs

Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell was suspended today for two weeks without pay and fined an undisclosed amount and will also undergo sensitivity training after he was accused of shouting anti-gay slurs at San Francisco Giants fans last weekend. Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution broke the news today.

Schultz wrote in his blog today that McDowell was “lucky” with only a two-week suspension.

“In short, it is alleged McDowell spew anti-gay remarks and made a veiled threat to fans. Whether he was joking or not, that can’t be tolerated,” Schultz wrote.

“Certainly, nobody was coming to McDowell’s defense Sunday. Even team president John Schuerholz said, ‘We are clearly disappointed in  Roger’s remarks and actions and the Atlanta Braves organization does not tolerate that kind of behavior.’”

In a statement today, McDowell apologized again for his actions.

“I understand the decision made today by the commissioner,” McDowell said in the statement. “I am embarrassed by my actions and I plan to give a personal apology to Mr. [Justin] Quinn and his family. I would also like to offer a public and heartfelt apology to the fans of San Francisco, to the Atlanta Braves organization, my family and to Major League Baseball.”

The full press release from the MLB about McDowell and his suspension:

“The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell has been suspended for two weeks without pay and fined an undisclosed amount for his inappropriate conduct toward fans at the Saturday, April 23rd game at AT&T Park in San Francisco. The suspension is retroactive to Friday, April 29th, when McDowell was placed on administrative leave by the Club.

“McDowell also will be required to participate in a sensitivity training program as a part of the discipline stemming from this matter. McDowell, who had requested last week to apologize directly to the fans involved in the incident, will do so now that the investigation has been completed. The fan involved, Justin Quinn, will be invited along with his family to attend a future San Francisco Giants game as guests of Major League Baseball. In addition, MLB will reach out to education programs that aim to promote tolerance and sensitivity.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig added, “Major League Baseball is a social institution that brings people together and welcomes all individuals of different races, religions, genders, national origins and sexual orientations into its ballparks. Conduct by people associated with MLB that shows insensitivity to others simply cannot and will not be tolerated. I understand that Mr. McDowell is very contrite about his conduct, and hopefully this incident will be used to increase public awareness of the importance of sensitivity to others. I commend Justin Quinn and his family for bringing this issue to our attention so that it will not happen again in the future.'”

McDowell was accused last week of hurling anti-gay slurs a a group of San Francisco Giants fans, shouting at them, “Are you a homo couple or a threesome?”  and then imitating a sex act with a baseball bat.

When Justin Quinn, who was at the game at San Francisco AT&T Park on April 23 with his twin 9-year-old daughters, asked McDowell to watch his language in front of children, McDowell allegedly asked, “How much are your teeth worth?” while tapping his bat onto his palm.
Quinn hired high-profile attorney Gloria Allred to represent him in seeking an apology from McDowell and made the accusations at a press conference on Wednesday.

Georgia Equality demanded swift action be taken against McDowell in a letter hand-delivered to John Schuerholz last week.

Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham wrote in the letter that McDowell’s behavior was that of a “bully” and urged the club have sensitivity training for its players, coaches and employees. Georgia Equality also asked the Braves to join a national effort to stop bullying in schools.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation also demanded the Braves investigate the incident and take disciplinary action.