The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is asking Major League Baseball and the Atlanta Braves to send a message "that anti-gay slurs have no place in sports" after an Atlanta Braves coach allegedly hurled epithets at San Francisco Giants fans.
Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell is accused of making anti-gay slurs at the San Francisco AT&T Park during a game on Saturday. Justin Quinn, who was at the game with his wife and 9-year-old twin daughters, made the allegation and also accused McDowell of threatening him after he asked the coach to watch his language because children were present.
“McDowell’s apology is a start, but the Atlanta Braves and Major League Baseball must take real disciplinary action and send the message that anti-gay slurs have no place in sports,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios in a statement. “Professional sporting events should be an environment that all fans and families can enjoy, not a place where children are exposed to violent threats and discriminatory language.”
Gay activists call for investigation into Braves coach’s alleged use of anti-gay slur
Quinn made the accusations on Wednesday at a news conference with high-profile attorney Gloria Allred.
McDowell is accused of shouting at some Giants fans, “Are you a homo couple or a threesome?” and also of using a baseball bat to imitate a sex act.
After Quinn asked McDowell to watch his language, the coach allegedly walked toward him carrying a baseball bat and said, “How much are your teeth worth?”
The Braves incident follows closely behind the controversy stirred when Los Angeles Laker star player Kobe Bryant called a referee a “fucking faggot” during a game on April 13 against the San Antonio Spurs. The HRC and GLAAD demanded Bryant apologize and he did. Bryant was also was fined $100,000 by the NBA.
GLAAD called on the MLB and Braves to investigate the allegations.
“As more and more sports teams refuse to allow this sort of behavior, we urge the Atlanta Braves and Major League Baseball to investigate this matter immediately and work towards ensuring the safety of all fans and players,” Barrios said.
The Braves have promised to investigate the incident.
“We were made aware of an incident in San Francisco this past Saturday,” the Braves said in their statement. “We are concerned by these allegations and the behavior described by a witness …. This in no way represents the Braves organization and the conduct we expect of our employees. We will withhold further comments until we finish gathering information.”
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig also issued a statement Wednesday, saying the allegations were “troubling.”
“I was informed today that Roger McDowell, a coach of the Atlanta Braves, is being accused of engaging in highly inappropriate conduct toward fans at a game in San Francisco. Although I do not yet have all the facts regarding this incident, the allegations are very troubling to me. The Atlanta Braves have assured my office that they will immediately investigate the allegations, and report the results of the investigation to me. After I have all the facts, I will make a determination of how to proceed,” Selig said.
The Atlanta Braves has had to deal with the team being accused of being anti-gay before. Former player John Rocker famously made numerous anti-gay rants in an interview with Sports Illustrated in 1999. Rocker again made news for anti-gay comments pitched at an Atlanta radio sports personality in 2009.