The Atlanta Braves have suspended their pitching coach after he heckled fans at a San Francisco game by shouting, “Are you a homo couple or a threesome?” and then simulating anal sex with a baseball bat.
The Braves have placed pitching coach Roger McDowell on administrative leave while they continue to investigate allegations that he directed anti-gay slurs toward fans at San Francisco’s AT&T Park. The Braves announced that minor league pitching coordinator Dave Wallace would fill in during McDowell’s absence. Braves general manager Frank Wren is scheduled to meet with the media at 4:10 p.m. The last Brave to miss game action for inflammatory remarks was former closer John Rocker after his 1999 tirade in Sports Illustrated. Rocker was originally fined $20,000 by Major League Baseball and suspended for a month, but his sanctions were reduced to a $500 fine and a two-week suspension by an arbitrator. McDowell issued an apology on Wednesday, saying “I am deeply sorry that I responded to the heckling fans in San Francisco on Saturday. I apologize to everyone for my actions.”
Celebrity attorney Gloria Allred yesterday held a press conference with one of the witnesses, who was attending the game with his young daughters. When the witness complained to McDowell about his language, the coach allegedly waved the bat at him asking, “How much are your teeth worth?”
UPDATE: GLAAD says the Braves need to do more.
“It remains to be seen whether the Atlanta Braves will take real disciplinary action and send a clear message that there is no place for anti-gay remarks or violent threats in baseball,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. “The Braves and Major League Baseball should follow the NBA and WWE by speaking out in support of gay and lesbian baseball fans and players around the country, and by taking steps to make the sport a safe place for everyone.”