ATLANTA — Major League Baseball said Thursday it would await information from the Atlanta Braves before considering disciplinary action against pitching coach Roger McDowell, whom a fan accused of making crude comments and gestures and threatening him with a baseball bat.
McDowell apologized after the Braves’ 7-0 win Wednesday night at San Diego. The allegations stemmed from a game in San Francisco last weekend.
MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said the Braves are still gathering information and that the league will announce a decision once it has all the facts.
Attorney Gloria Allred told The Associated Press on Thursday night she was disappointed the Braves have not yet attempted to contact her or Justin Quinn, her client.
“If they’re doing an investigation, one would think they would want to talk to my client,” said Allred, who also has sent the Braves and commissioner Bud Selig information that another fan came to her with complaints of verbal abuse from McDowell.
Quinn, a 33-year-old fan from Fresno, said McDowell’s comments were made Saturday during pregame batting practice at AT&T Park. Quinn said he attended the game with his wife and 9-year-old twin daughters when McDowell said to three men in the stands, “Are you guys a homo couple or a threesome?”
Quinn said McDowell made crude sexual gestures with his hips and a bat, and Quinn said he shouted to McDowell, “Hey, there are kids out here!” Quinn said the coach replied that kids don’t belong at a ballpark, then picked up a bat, walked up to Quinn and asked him, “How much are your teeth worth?”
Quinn made his allegations Wednesday at Allred’s Los Angeles office.
Allred said one reason for her “heightened concern” Thursday is a complaint against McDowell from another fan.
“This may not be an isolated incident,” Allred said in a telephone interview. “I have been contacted by another fan in another state who alleges another incident.”
Allred said the second incident “involved what the fan believed to be angry and inappropriate words directed at him and his wife who had her young children with her. This fan has authorized me to supply his information to the commissioner.”
McDowell apologized in a statement, saying: “I am deeply sorry that I responded to the heckling fans in San Francisco on Saturday. I apologize to everyone for my actions.”
Atlanta general manager Frank Wren declined comment; manager Fredi Gonzalez didn’t respond to requests for a comment.
Selig called the accusations “very troubling.”
Atlanta (13-13) was off Thursday and will open a weekend series against St. Louis at Turner Field tonight.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said McDowell’s apology was only a start.
“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.”
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