SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) – Major League Baseball has suspended Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell two weeks without pay for inappropriate comments and gestures he made toward fans before a game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.
He was also fined an undisclosed amount for the April 23 incident.
McDowell will also be required to complete sensitivity training and will have to apologize directly to the fans involved.
Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement Sunday that insensitivity to others “simply cannot and will not be tolerated.”
“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,” Selig said. “I commend Justin Quinn and his family for bringing this issue to our attention so that it will not happen again in the future.”
Quinn, who lives in Fresno, said he was in the stands with his wife and 9-year-old twin daughters before the April 23 game at San Francisco when he noticed McDowell ask three men “Are you guys a homo couple or a threesome?”
Quinn said McDowell made crude sexual gestures with his hips and a bat. Quinn said he shouted, “Hey there are kids out here.”
According to Quinn, McDowell said kids don’t belong at a baseball park, picked up a bat, walked up to Quinn and asked him, “How much are your teeth worth?”
McDowell issued an apology on Thursday and again on Sunday.
“I understand the decision made today by the commissioner,” McDowell said in a statement Sunday. “I am embarrassed by my actions and I plan to give a personal apology to Mr. Quinn and his family. I would also like to offer a public and heartfelt apology to the fans of San Francisco, to the Atlanta Braves organization, my family and to Major League Baseball.”
The release from the commissioner’s office said Quinn and his family will be invited to a Giants home game as guests of Major League Baseball. Also, baseball will “reach out” to education programs that promote tolerance and sensitivity.
In a statement released by his attorney, Gloria Allred, Quinn applauded the discipline imposed on McDowell.
“I am pleased to see Major League Baseball imposing discipline on Coach McDowell for his actions,” Quinn said. “I love baseball dearly and my family and I are now looking forward to getting back to the ballpark for another game.”
Allred said the discipline “demonstrates that Major League Baseball believes that homophobic slurs, sexually lewd conduct and threatening behavior by coaches or any other person employed at a game in the major league will not be tolerated.”
(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)