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|McDowell controversy reminiscent of past Atlanta Braves anti-gay fouls|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|April 29, 2011 16:09|
The news of Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell being put on administrative leave over alleged anti-gay slurs hurled at San Francisco Giants fans last weekend is just one of several incidents the team has had to answer for with LGBT fans.
McDowell was put on administrative leave today after allegedly shouting at several San Francisco Giants fans, "Are you a homo couple or a threesome?" and then imitating a sex act with a baseball bat. The coach also allegedly threatened the father of twin daughters who said he witnessed the incident and asked the coach to watch his language in front of children.
In 1999, former Braves relief pitcher John Rocker was quoted in a 1999 Sports Illustrated profile of him saying why he would never play in New York.
"Imagine having to take the No. 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you're [riding] through Beirut, next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids," Rocker said.
Rocker was suspended for 60 days by Major League Baseball, but had suspension cut to 30 days by an arbitrator.
In 2004, former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz compared gay marriage to bestiality in an AP story about gay athletes.
“Smoltz, a devout Christian, criticized those who want to legalize gay marriage,” the AP reported. “‘What’s next? Marrying an animal?’ he asked derisively.”
It was in 2004 when nearly 80 percent of Georgia voters voted to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
Georgia gay activists and allies demanded Smoltz apologize. Smoltz said the article portrayed his quote inaccurately.
In 2006, the Atlanta Braves also angered the LGBT community when the sponsored the first "Faith Day" in the MLB that included the anti-gay Focus on the Family. At the game, Focus on the Family representatives handed out pamphlets for its Troubledwith.com website that features anti-gay content, including stating homosexuality is a development problem and also likened gay people to pedophiles.
In response to the backlash from gay fans, the the Braves disinvited Focus on the Family from participating in future Faith Day events.
Top photo: Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz (public domain via wikipedia.org)
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