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|Braves coach put on admin leave after allegations he used anti-gay slurs|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|April 29, 2011 14:34|
Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell has been placed on administrative leave in the fallout of allegations he used anti-gay slurs against San Francisco Giants fans over Easter weekend.
John Quinn stated at a press conference on Wednesday that McDowell shouted at some fans, "Are you a homo couple or a threesome?" and then imitated a sex act using a baseball bat.
Quinn, who attended the game on Saturday at San Francisco AT&T Park with his twin 9-year-old daughters, also alleged that McDowell threatened him after he asked the coach to watch his language in front of children. Quinn is represented by high-profile attorney Gloria Allred.
McDowell has apologized for his conduct, saying in a statement, "I am deeply sorry that I responded to the heckling fans in San Francisco on Saturday. I apologize to everyone for my actions."
McDowell met with Braves officials on Thursday to discuss the incident.
Georgia Equality, the state's largest LGBT advocacy group, and the national Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation have called for an investigation into the matter.
Georgia Equality hand-delivered a letter to Braves President John Schuerholz on Thursday, likening the coach's behavior to that of a "bully." Executive Director Jeff Graham said he was disappointed the team was undergoing this kind of scrutiny again after the incident in which former Atlanta Braves relief pitcher John Rocker famously made anti-gay and racist comments in an interview with Sports Illustrated in 1999.
“As one of the leaders of the coalition that formed to condemn those comments, I cannot express how profoundly disappointed I am that this has once again happened. What is perhaps most troubling is that unlike John Rocker, Roger McDowell serves in a leadership position within the organization. Without firm disciplinary action, others will assume this his casual use of anti-gay speed and threats of physical violence is somehow tolerable," Graham said.
The Braves have promised to investigate the incident.
The Atlanta Braves have not finished its investigation into the matter so McDowell's final fate is not yet know, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Openly gay Cubs fan Jerry Pritkin, 74, came to his McDowell's defense, saying the Braves coach was a "good guy."
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: Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell (via mlb.com)
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