MLB suspends coach for alleged homophobic conduct
By Sports Network
|Justin Quinn (C) speaks regarding allegations that he and his family observed Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell making obscene comments and gestures while attending a Braves versus Giants game in San Francisco on April 23, 2011, at Gloria Allred's law offices. With him are Allred (2nd L), wife Jessica (2nd R) and his nine-year old twin daughters Kylynn (L) and Taylor (R). REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
NEW YORK - Major League Baseball has suspended and fined Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell for his alleged homophobic and threatening conduct toward fans before a game in San Francisco.
The league announced its decision Sunday, suspending McDowell for two weeks without pay retroactive to April 29, when the Braves placed him on administrative leave. The amount of the fine was not disclosed.
McDowell will also be required to participate in a sensitivity training program, and will apologize directly to the fans involved now that the investigation is complete. McDowell had requested to apologize to the fans last week, according to MLB.
"Conduct by people associated with MLB that shows insensitivity to others simply cannot and will not be tolerated," said commissioner Bud Selig in a statement. "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."
McDowell, a former major league pitcher and the Braves' pitching coach since 2005, was accused of asking three Giants fans in the stands at AT&T Park, "Are you a homo couple or a threesome?"
He was accused of using two fingers and the small end of a baseball bat to simulate sexual intercourse, among other lewd comments and gestures, including thrusting his hips back and forth in a sexual manner.
The allegations were brought to light Wednesday when famed attorney Gloria Allred joined Giants fan Justin Quinn, his wife and two daughters at a press conference.
According to Allred, Quinn and his family were in the bleachers during batting practice on April 23 when they observed McDowell's initial comments. She said Quinn responded by yelling to McDowell: "Hey, there are kids out here."
Allred said McDowell called back: "Kids don't [expletive] belong at the baseball park." She said McDowell picked up a bat and walked toward Quinn in a threatening manner, asking: "How much are your teeth worth?"
During the press conference, Allred and the Quinns called for McDowell and the team to be fined, for both to apologize and for the coach to attend sensitivity training.
The league said it will reach out to education programs that aim to promote tolerance and sensitivity. MLB will also invite Quinn and his family to attend a future Giants game as its guests.
"I commend Justin Quinn and his family for bringing this issue to our attention so that it will not happen again in the future," Selig's statement said.