Former New York Met Roger McDowell, currently a pitching coach for Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves, finds himself receiving huge media attention early in the season. The reason: homophobic slurs he made at a game last week before the first pitch was even thrown.
To make matters a little more shall-we-say, queer, McDowell chose AT&T Park in San Francisco as the venue to let it fly. McDowell claims three fans were heckling him and he responded.
The NY Daily News Reported:
“Are you guys a homo couple or a threesome?” McDowell allegedly asked the unidentified fans, using a bat to simulate a sex act and thrusting his hips in a suggestive manner.
Justin Quinn, 33, said he objected, shouting at McDowell that kids - including his twin 9-year-old daughters – were watching his ugly display.
“Kids don’t f—— belong at a baseball park,” McDowell shot back as he approached menacingly with a bat, according to Quinn. “How much are your teeth worth?”
Justin Quinn sought representation after the aggressive threat McDowell made. McDowell replied by apologizing for responding to the heckling and for his actions. The Braves organization is still deciding on disciplinary actions. MLB has vowed to address consequences based on the decisions made by the Braves.
The apology is a good start in preventing intolerant behavior in sports, but the issue isn’t necessarily that he responded; it’s how he chose to respond. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation would like to see more and released a statement following McDowell’s apology.
“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. “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.”
Thank you to the GLAAD team for a few reasons: first and foremost, as a long time athlete, I know that sporting environments have historically been notorious for homophobic behavior and bullying. There are so many physical, emotional and psychological benefits to playing sports that I hate to think what many gay youth are missing.
Secondly, as we address that issue, we must start with the athletes that have the most impact, and are the most visible.
Finally, McDowell chose to attack fans of the defending World Series Champions. That means they draw among the largest audience of any Major League team. While the number of people that could’ve seen his disrespectful display didn’t seem to deter him, the overwhelming media coverage that follows major sporting champions should have.
That intense media coverage serves as an opportunity. Hopefully, the Braves organization and MLB will take this matter seriously and set policy that affects all teams. MLB and all professional sporting teams need to have a zero tolerance policy and they need to make that policy as visible as possible.
Photo By: Bond
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