Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies issued a statement on Monday acknowledging that a fan did not hurl a racial slur at a Miami Marlins player, as was previously assumed.
But it turns out that the statement was missing a major element: An actual apology to the fan in question.
Sunday evening following the game, when the Rockies merely assumed that the fan had called Marlins’ Lewis Brinson a racial slur and had not yet completed an investigation, the team put out a statement condemning the fan.
“The Colorado Rockies are disgusted at the racial slur by a fan directed at [Brinson] during the ninth inning of today’s game. Although the subject was not identified prior to the end of the game, the Rockies are still investigating the incident,” the statement began.
A statement from the Colorado Rockies regarding the racial slur incident at the end of today's game: pic.twitter.com/85uN3f1pFZ
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) August 9, 2021
“The Rockies have zero tolerance for any form of racism or discrimination, and any fan using derogatory language of any kind will be ejected and banned from Coors Field,” the statement added.
Several others jumped on board with the accusation as well before all the facts were known, including left-wing former sports broadcaster and MSNBC host Keith Olbermann.
“Shouting the N-word at a game? Where is the @Rockies statement on how they apprehended the racist and what they did to him? Where is @mlb’s investigation? This is a private business and they are responsible for the conduct of their patrons,” he tweeted Sunday evening.
Bob Nightengale, a sports columnist for USA Today, initially responded, “Disgusting. Please find him,” adding in a follow-up tweet, “And put him in jail without the right to ever attend a sporting event, let alone anything else.”
And a lot of people across the media ran with this one when they should’ve known better.
— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) August 9, 2021
But roughly 18 hours later, the team was forced to issue another statement after learning that the fan in question was yelling for the team’s mascot, Dinger, and did not direct the “n” word at Brinson, who is black.
An update from the Colorado Rockies regarding the incident at the end of yesterday's game: pic.twitter.com/4cCS8peKnU
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) August 9, 2021
“After a thorough investigation that included calls, emails and video clips from concerned fans, media and broadcast partners, the Colorado Rockies have concluded that the fan was indeed yelling for Rockies mascot Dinger in hopes of getting his attention for a photo, and there was never any racial slur that occurred,” the second statement read before doubling down on the team’s intolerance for racism.
“The Rockies remain dedicated to providing an inclusive environment for all fans, players and guests at Coors Field, and any fan using derogatory language of any kind will be ejected from Coors Field,” the statement added.
Here’s the video by the way. I’ve highlighted both the fan and Dinger in the the first clip, then zoomed in on the fan in the second clip. And Dinger in the third. pic.twitter.com/ul14jQjavx
— Steve Staeger (@SteveStaeger) August 9, 2021
But there was no actual apology issued to the fan whose reputation was sullied by the initial unfounded accusation, and social media users were quick to pick up on that.
“This is missing a big apology,” Red State media analyst Sister Toldjah noted on Twitter.
“No apology for being idiotically and terribly wrong,” wrote Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney.
“A lot of groveling is called for, too,” another user responded.
“This apology is missing an apology LOL come on guys y’all are better than that,” said another.
“Hey @Rockies, when are you actually going to publicly apologize for making a false accusation against a fan before having all the facts?” said another.
Nightengale also retracted his initial statement and apologized, but added the caveat that such incidents are “too easy to believe.”
“The #Rockies complete their investigation and find that no slur was used. I sincerely apologize for jumping to the wrong conclusion after the video. Unfortunately, after personally seeing the racism family/friends endure every damn day, it was too easy to believe it happened again,” he wrote.
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