NEW YORK --- The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, called for disciplinary action after Atlanta Braves Pitching Coach Roger McDowell issued an apology regarding allegations that he directed anti-gay slurs at a group of male fans and made violent threats before the Braves played the San Francisco Giants over the weekend. GLAAD also reached out to officials with the Atlanta Braves.
"I am deeply sorry that I responded to the heckling fans in San Francisco on Saturday. I apologize to everyone for my actions," McDowell said in a statement on Wednesday evening.
“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. “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.”
On Wednesday, attorney Gloria Allred announced the allegations in a news conference on Wednesday — representing Justin Quinn, his wife and two young daughters who stated that they watched McDowell make anti-gay remarks at a group of male fans. Quinn said that McDowell proceeded to make crude gestures with his hips and a bat. McDowell then allegedly told Quinn that children do not belong at a baseball park. He then picked up a bat, approached Quinn and asked him, "How much are your teeth worth?"
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Following the news conference, GLAAD called on the MLB and Braves to investigate the allegations immediately. "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,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios.
Earlier this month, GLAAD worked with the NBA and Los Angeles Lakers to take action after Kobe Bryant shouted an anti-gay slur at a referee. More information on that work is available here: http://www.glaad.org/releases/04152011lalakers.
Recently, GLAAD worked with the New York Yankees and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) to address issues of homophobia in sports. After working with GLAAD, the New York Yankees adopted a new policy that strictly prohibits anti-gay slurs in Yankee Stadium.