Allegation: Braves’ pitching coach Roger McDowell made “shocking gay slurs” to fans at AT&T Park

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So, the major league coach who celebrity attorney Gloria Allred was going to accuse of making homophobic slurs at a fan?  It’s Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell. From TMZ:

The coach in question is Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell — who allegedly targeted a group of male fans at San Francisco’s AT&T park last weekend … asking them, “Are you guys a homo couple or a threesome?”

This allegedly happened on Sunday. Allred contends that McDowell also made lewd gestures with a bat, and threatened one of the men — Justin Quinn — asking “how much do you think your teeth are worth?”  As reported this morning, Quinn had his daughters with him at the time and, after the homophobic comments, McDowell said “kids don’t belong at the f***ing ballpark.”  After this happened, Quinn complained to AT&T Park staff whom he said were “very attentive, and took it seriously.” He also filed a police report.

Quinn, his wife, and his daughters — twin nine-year-olds dressed in pink — were at today’s news conference, and Quinn and Allred reenacted the thing with the bat.

Allred said in the news conference that she wants baseball to fine McDowell and the Braves and is demanding that McDowell apologize to the fans who witnessed his alleged homophobic remarks.  If what she says happened is true, I can’t think that Major League Baseball or the Braves would think that sufficient. This is the kind of thing that could and maybe should get McDowell fired.

Remember, oh, 25 minutes ago when I said there was nothing cool about the Braves?  Yeah, that still holds, at least with respect to the pitching coach, at least if what Mr. Quinn is saying is true.

UPDATE: Major League Baseball has issued the following statement regarding the allegations:

“I was informed today that Roger McDowell, a coach of the Atlanta Braves, is being accused of engaging in highly inappropriate conduct toward fans at a game in San Francisco. Although I do not yet have all the factss regarding this incident, the allegations are very troubling to me. The Atlanta Braves have assured my office that they will immediately investigate the allegations, and report the results of the investigation to me. After I have all the facts, I will make a determination of how to proceed.”

In case it was not already clear: the allegations against McDowell are just that — allegations.  It is wise for everyone to wait and hear his side of the story before coming to any conclusions about what, if anything, occurred that would require any sort of action, be it legal or disciplinary or whatever.  That’s certainly what baseball seems to be doing.

UPDATE II:  McDowell has apologized and the Braves have made a statement as well.

Alabama man arrested for stealing a Braves golf cart from SunTrust Park

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Last Tuesday night, the Braves hosted the San Francisco Giants at SunTrust Park. They lost 6-3. An Alabama man named Marcus Stephens almost came away a winner, however. At least if stealing a $4,500 golf cart that belongs to the Braves makes you a winner, which in some circles I suppose it would.

Stephens lost, however, when he crashed the cart into a metal pole, attempted to flee on foot and was apprehended by Cobb County Sheriff’s deputies. This all went down at 1:40AM Wednesday morning. The report doesn’t mention anything about alcohol being involved but I’ve read enough stories like this to make educated guesses about such things.

That being said, Stephens seems relatively composed in his mugshot:

I mean, yeah, the eyes look a bit red and puffy and the overall vibe he gives off is “I came to the game as part of the Sigma Nu reunion (Auburn University class of ’06, GO TIGERS!),” but I expected much worse after reading the headline.

 

Anyway, dude is out on bail. Somewhere, someone is really super proud of him, I’m sure.

Report: The Yankee Stadium charity is a secretive, self-dealing boondoggle

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The New York Times has a blistering report on the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund. The Fund is the charity the Yankees created in 2006 as a means of making up for the negative impact the construction New Yankee Stadium had on the surrounding community, primarily via its taking over 25 acres of parkland.

The idea of the Fund was a good one: to distribute $40 million in cash grants and sports equipment, and 600,000 free baseball tickets to community organizations in the Bronx over four decades. And it has been distributing funds and tickets. As the Times reports, however, the manner in which it has done so raises some red flags. Such as:

  • Charitable donations have, in an amazing coincidence, often gone to other charities which share common board members with the New Yankee Stadium Fund;
  • Funds have gone to many wealthy groups in affluent parts of the Bronx far away from the Stadium while the area around the stadium remains one of the most impoverished in the nation. For example, a private school in a wealthy part of the borough and a rec center in a gated community have gotten a lot money that, one would think anyway, could be and should be devoted to organizations closer to the ballpark that are in greater need; and
  • There has been almost no transparency or oversight of the Fund. Reports which were supposed to have been submitted have not been. And no one, apart from the Times anyway, seems to care. The Yankees certainly don’t seem to. Indeed, as the article notes, the team has worked hard to keep the Fund’s operations out of its hands. They just got their new ballpark and write the checks and hand out the tickets. Everything else is someone else’s problem.

Cronyism in private philanthropy is not uncommon. As is a lack of oversight. Often it’s the best connected people who receive the benefit of such funds, not the people most in need. This is especially true in charities whose creation was not born of a philanthropic impulse as much as it was born of a need to put a good face on some not-so-good business dealings.

If the Times’ report is correct — and the lack of anyone coming forward to dispute it on the record despite the Times’ requests that they do suggests it is — it appears as if the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund is one of those sorts of charities.