Atlanta Braves Pitching Coach Roger McDowell Suspended, Fined For Anti-Gay Incident

Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell just received light disciplinary action from his employer. Major League Baseball has suspended him for two weeks without pay and also fined him an undisclosed amount for anti-gay slurs and gestures he made during a game earlier this month. McDowell was put on administrative leave on Friday.

The official release from the league:

Roger "McDowell, who had requested last week to apologize directly to the fans involved in the incident, will do so now that the investigation has been completed. The fan involved, Justin Quinn, will be invited along with his family to attend a future San Francisco Giants game as guests of Major League Baseball. In addition, MLB will reach out to education programs that aim to promote tolerance and sensitivity."

"Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said: 'Major League Baseball is a social institution that brings people together and welcomes all individuals of different races, religions, genders, national origins and sexual orientations into its ballparks. Conduct by people associated with MLB that shows 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. I commend Justin Quinn and his family for bringing this issue to our attention so that it will not happen again in the future.'"

As part of the disciplinary action, McDowell has also been ordered to take sensitivity training.


  1. zeddy says

    I don’t know if that is really “light” disciplinary action; it just seems appropriate. I am more amazed that this sort of response/action is happening. People know it’s wrong and so there’s an instant apology, etc. Twenty years ago this would have never happened.

  2. Frederick says

    McDowell should’ve received more than a slap on the wrist. I guess professional coaches and athletes aren’t held to the same level of accountability that your average American is. I say this because if anyone else had displayed this same type of outrageous behavior, while on the clock, at work, I am quite certain he or she would’ve been terminated.

  3. J says

    Even if this guy goes for sensitivity training and apologizes,no gay person should ever forgive him.You’re not going to become homofriendly like that.

  4. Frederick says

    If you feel that MLB Baseball Commissioner, Allan H. Selig, needed to give McDowell a more appropriate(i.e. termination) disciplinary consequence for his anti-gay tirade, while on the clock, please write to him at:
    The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball
    Allan H. Selig, Commissioner
    245 Park Ave., 31st Floor
    New York, NY 10167

    Thank you.
    P.S.-Sorry, but I couldn’t locate an email address for Selig.

  5. Rin says


    this is sort of my thoughts on all of the homophobic disciplinary actions…much like with racism or sexism…it doesn’t actually change anyone’s heart. It just drives the feelings underground where they fester.

    Guys that like him will resent him being fired and will begin to have similar feelings…

    I don’t know what the answer is, except that people’s hearts need to change, not what comes out of their mouths. I’m not sure that happens with discipline. I was always more contrite over my wrong doings when Mom said she was “disappointed in me” than when I got punished.

    Sorry…just thinking aloud…

  6. Ricco says

    Okay . . . maybe disciplining these coaches and athletes does not change who they are, and how they view gays, but that does not mean they ought not to be held responsible.

    I have seen, however, rare instances that some of these people have had cause to think about their behavior, and determined to learn something from the discipline meted out to them.

    But whether they do or not, learn something from their errant behavior, what kind of society would we be, how much more would we see this kind of behavior, and worse, if it were never checked?

    So, in that vein, I have to agree with Zeddy, that this type of behavior in the average American’s average place of employment would have resulted in that persons termination.

    Think about it, about everything that he did: He not only made anti-gay remarks to three baseball fans, but he acted it out using a baseball bat . . . and he not only made these remarks and acted out on the baseball bat, but did it in front of two little girls . . . but when he was confronted by a justifiably concerned father, he continued to curse in front of the girls . . and THREATENED the little girls’ father!!

    Even if he was sincere in his apology about his actions, anything less then being terminated would not be adequate.

    Think about it. These jocks make lots of money. All they have to do is determine the maximum amount of money they could afford to lose to give into the luxury of speaking their mind, and decide if it is worth it.

    Anymore it is a weekly occurrence . . . jocks acting badly, so clearly these tiny little fines and minor suspensions are not making for a real deterrent. Anymore, these fines and petty suspensions only demonstrate how little real concern these commissions have about homophobia in their ranks.

  7. Ricco says

    It is only speculation, of course . . .but what do you want to bet that had Coach Roger McDowell made offensive sexual remarks about Commissioner Allan H (Bud) Selig’s wife, acting it out on the baseball bat, that he would have been terminated, if not immediately, then very soon after?

    Clearly when Selig says that: “Conduct by people associated with MLB that shows insensitivity to others simply cannot and will not be tolerated,” he means the exact opposite, that the coaches actions are easily tolerated . . . as evidenced, not only by the petty fine and suspension, but by his choice of word choice – “insensitivity.’

    The word insensitive denotes something on the line of a faux pas, and nothing so purposeful and dismissive as the coaches actual behavior. Mr. Selig, and many like him, are still very far way from being incensed by such behavior and taking it seriously.

  8. Rin says

    I’m not saying he should not be punished, I’m saying that in the overall big picture…I don’t think it will change anything.

    I would bet that having a gay child would be the thing that would leave an impression on a guy like this more than anything else. Love tends to conquer all–or if not all, certainly more than hatred.

    My evangelical neighbors used to argue with me all the time about gay rights and gays in the Bible until their middle child announced he was gay. They had a meltdown, but when I caught up with them a year later they were really embarrassed about all of the anti-gay things they had say prior to his coming out.

    I realize that not all parents nor all people come around, but I do believe love has a lot of power to create change.

  9. Danny says

    @ J: Yes you’re right–it won’t change this particular person’s heart. But it WILL send a message out to kids of all kinds and colors that this kind of s**t isn’t acceptable and isn’t cool–the gay people are entitled to respect just like anyone else. I think it’s exciting that sports institutions have joined our country’s cultural and business sector to send that message to young people whose attitudes are still being formed. It will also marginalize their elders who continue to harbor such ugliness. The day is coming when they’ll find themselves outnumbered. The so-called Christians don’t like it much, but that kind of so-called Christian is already outnumbered.

  10. Pete n SFO says

    It’s very important, whatever the consequence, more people understand the message that this kind of intolerance will just no longer fly.

    Bit, by bit, that has an effect and soon enough, just like open racism, open homophobia will become unacceptable in society- everywhere.

    Not on our timetable, but slowly the change is comin’.

  11. Beau says

    Two weeks with no pay, a fine of an undisclosed amount, an apology, and sensitivity training. Does anybody want to take a stab at guessing what his passing grade should/will be? Does he have to take it over if he doesn’t pass? I don’t think so. MLB is blowin’ smoke up our butts, I guess we’re supposed to like that kind of thing. Swing-batter-batter-swing!

  12. says

    I think the suspension was proper and McDowell’s apology sincere.I think it is time for MLB to alert all teams of doing a better job of policing the stands. I believe in Free Speech, however with limits. If a fan aims racial, obscene or anti- gay remarks at any other fan or player… they should be warned, and if they continue that they be banned from the ballpark. It’s a 2 way street. I’m glad this this lapse of judgment on McDowell did not cost him his job. I known him for 25 years and never seen him make gestures that were obscene or anti-gay during that time. However, in the past there were some MLB players who did. They were John Rocker of the Braves and Julian Tavarez of the Cubs. They were known as hot-heads as well as being prejudice. Roger was always a fan fan favorite where ever he played during his distinguished career. Now let’s Play Ball!

  13. wimsy says

    Discipline demonstrates the the behavior is not acceptable, is wrong, and will not be tolerated. The more a standard of civility is enforced, the more it is ingrained and eventually becomes the standard. Imagine this bigot yelling racist epithets at a black fan, and you’ll see what I mean — it couldn’t happen because it’s now so widely disapproved that he’d be booed from the stands, thrown from the game and fired. We need to reach that point in gay civil rights and respect, an d the only way to do it is to discipline those who think they have a macho right to insult anyone they don’t like. If this guy does it again, Selig will hang him out to dry.

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