Roger McDowell lucky to be suspended only two weeks

Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell will escape with only a two-week suspension.

Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell will escape with only a two-week suspension.

This would be a good day for Roger McDowell to play the lottery. He’ll never be luckier than he is right now.

McDowell has been suspended for two weeks without pay and fined an undisclosed amount for alleged anti-gay slurs and his inappropriate conduct toward fans in San Francisco last week. He also has been ordered to take sensitivity training.

Say thank you, Roger.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig — who last week suspended Ozzie Guillen two games for something as trivial as Tweeting — could have slammed McDowell.

I’ve heard from several readers who believe the Braves should have fired him. I wasn’t in that camp, but I do believe a suspension of at least 30 games was in order.

“I understand the decision made today by the commissioner,” McDowell said in a statement. “I am embarrassed by my actions and I plan to give a personal apology to Mr. [Justin] Quinn and his family. I would also like to offer a public and heartfelt apology to the fans of San Francisco, to the Atlanta Braves organization, my family and to Major League Baseball.”

The official news release did not give specifics of McDowell’s exchange with fans. But neither did it dispute anything that has been reported or brought out at Quinn’s news conference last week. Allegations include various homophobic slurs, a crude joke involving a baseball bat and an exchange with Quinn, a father of two, who claimed McDowell said to him, “How much are your teeth worth?”

A story in Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle quoted another fan that corroborated many of Quinn’s claims.

In short, it is alleged McDowell spewed anti-gay remarks and made a quasi-threat to a fan. Whether he was joking or not, that can’t be tolerated.

Certainly, nobody was coming to McDowell’s defense Sunday. Even Braves team president John Schuerholz said, “We are clearly disappointed in  Roger’s remarks and actions and the Atlanta Braves organization does not tolerate that kind of behavior.”

McDowell’s two-week suspension is retroactive to last Friday, which means he can return on Friday the 13th (go figure) against Philadelphia. It’s a little sooner than some might have expected.

Say thank you, Roger.

FOR LIVE BLOG ON TODAY’S GAME: Click here.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

136 comments Add your comment

VJacket

May 1st, 2011
1:24 pm

Joe Tess Fish House

May 1st, 2011
1:24 pm

Marty

May 1st, 2011
1:25 pm

Thanks for the update. Proofread your story a little better next time.

Roger McDowell

May 1st, 2011
1:25 pm

Vain Jangling

May 1st, 2011
1:25 pm

Vain Jangling

May 1st, 2011
1:26 pm

I mean fourth!

chalkdawg4

May 1st, 2011
1:26 pm

Sounda about right to me. Hope he has learned his lesson.

Hoosier Aaron

May 1st, 2011
1:28 pm

That’s from MLB, correct?

Are the Braves going to deal with it internally?
JS’s comment says “does not tolerate”…Sound like the Braves might have other plans, too.
“Atlanta Braves organization does not tolerate that kind of behavior”, JS

BRAVESFAN

May 1st, 2011
1:29 pm

I thought Fredi was the one who was suspended from coaching duties this year!

Joe Tess Fish House

May 1st, 2011
1:30 pm

I thing these fans R lieing about what happened. It wood be easy 2 make up a story just 2 get him in truble.

Brave Fan

May 1st, 2011
1:30 pm

Yes what he did was wrong and stupid but geez you sound like anything less than losing his job is not punishment. John Rocker’s tirade was as bad or worse and he didn’t get crucified like you are crucifying Roger. If your life is mistake free then you have a right to judge; otherwise you don’t. As for Lowe, how many of you newspaper guys have gotten in your cars and driven after drinking. Again, Lowe was stupid, did a stupid thing, and will pay the consequences. I think you need to be removed from the Braves beat. I am very disappointed in you and your holier than thou attitude. And the sainted Mr. Quinn, who did not want his daughters to hear all that went on, still managed to take them on TV and re-enact the actions of Roger. Guess when his pockets was getting filled it was okay for his daughters to see and hear?

[...] MLB has suspended McDowell for two weeks without pay. I thought he would get worse — like Jeff Schultz, I think a month would’ve been appropriate. Firing him would’ve been excessive (was Kobe Bryant forced to retire?), but McDowell has put himself at the mercy of the indignation councils. He has no one to blame but himself. [...]

[...] UPDATE II: McDowell has been suspended for two weeks. Here’s a link to the blog: [...]

Rosgator

May 1st, 2011
1:35 pm

Very lucky indeed. Freddie needs to tighten the ship right now.

Valerie

May 1st, 2011
1:35 pm

He is lucky. I guess the Braves don’t put much in diversity. If I had done that with my company I would be looking for another job. But then I don’t have to worry about winning a World Series or bringing in a crowd to watch the games. Money talks.

[...] As Jeff Schultz writes, McDowell got lucky. [...]

TommyJack

May 1st, 2011
1:35 pm

McDowell was wrong. Punishment borderline excessive. Too PC. Most people don’t run to Gloria Allred when insulted. Move on.

Stevo

May 1st, 2011
1:35 pm

Whoa, Brave Fan, settle down with the personal attacks.
However, I do agree on some of the stuff. Lowe acted stupidly, and so did McDowell. That being said, we all mess up, and I am a firm believer in 2nd chances. We aren’t an organization that has this happen often (Furcal and Rocker are th last public issues I can think of) so this will be dealt with and WONT happen again.

R McDowell Jr.

May 1st, 2011
1:38 pm

Suspended for 2 weeks??? that’s so gay.

Brin

May 1st, 2011
1:40 pm

How refreshing it would be if just once a Fan would step forward and admit that he or she provoked, prodded and otherwise harassed the coach to the point he just could not take the abuse any longer. Fans do have a responsibility to conduct themselves in a decent fashion. If you utter fighting words then be ready to defend yourself…some folks will not take it no matter how politically incorrect it is supposed to be.

Political correctness will be our end. When folks can no longer vent their true feelings…freedom of speech is gone and when we were born we never were guaranteed we would never be offended…

Larry

May 1st, 2011
1:40 pm

Jeff,

This was a verbal infraction, nothing physical and no was was so much as touched by a feather. I think the two weeks without pay is acceptable but the internal punishment he will give himself far outweighs any monetary punishment. He and his family must live with this goof forever and he more than likely will never be considered for a manager’s job because of this.

Perhaps it is you that could use some sensitivity training!

On a professional note, could Mr. Kimbrel have used Roger the last two games?

Kenny Powers

May 1st, 2011
1:40 pm

tech-is-my-bee-otch

May 1st, 2011
1:41 pm

What the headline should REALLY read is this:AJC FIRES Schultz for horrible journalism….geez, give the guy a break….he did wrong, but obviously was getting taunted/heckled by the Left Coast “fans” during the series, and he snapped….Were his actions wrong? yes! But he got hit with NO pay for a couple of weeks and a tarnished image for life…after watching our bullpen explode the last two games, I would say we need Roger back in the dugout ASAP…

Jeff Schultz

May 1st, 2011
1:42 pm

Marty — Had to rush to get something up. Cleaned up. I’ll give you a nickel if you find a typo.

Jeff Schultz

May 1st, 2011
1:43 pm

Hoosier Aaron — Punishment came down from MLB. Braves were open about the fact two days ago that Selig was going to make the call on this.

Jeff Schultz

May 1st, 2011
1:44 pm

Brave fan — You perceive incorrectly. I wrote he should be suspended 30 games. I never wrote he should lose his job. So don’t make stuff up.

Jeff Schultz

May 1st, 2011
1:44 pm

Rosgator — Alas, somebody with perspective.

Joey

May 1st, 2011
1:44 pm

A one time incicent. No prior history.

I think punishment is just right.

Roger, next time taunt a white, Christian redneck. Not only will that NOT get you in trouble, it will lead to an appearance on Dave or Leno, as well as pats on the back from the ACLU . . .

Jeff Schultz

May 1st, 2011
1:45 pm

TommyJack — I do agree with you on the whole Gloria Allred thing. Embarrassing that a father had his two daughters up there in news conference.

Jeff Schultz

May 1st, 2011
1:47 pm

Larry — “… but the internal punishment he will give himself far outweighs any monetary punishment. He and his family must live with this goof forever and he more than likely will never be considered for a manager’s job because of this.”
… You’re certainly right about the public humiliation part. Not sure about the managerial future part, we’ll see.

idot

May 1st, 2011
1:47 pm

JS… Sorry, but the Marshall isn’t going to let you and the rest of your lynch mob hang him.

Bobby

May 1st, 2011
1:47 pm

I think most gays who either participate in or follow sports will be satisified with the two week suspension coupled with the MLB and Braves announcements that such conduct will not be tolerated. It sends a strong enough signal and I don’t put McDowell in the same class a Rocker who proved himself a jerk more than once.

Sonny Clusters

May 1st, 2011
1:50 pm

We was thinking this is starting out like a dog day.

He should of been fired

May 1st, 2011
1:55 pm

No doubt the Braves and MLB went easy on what was a firing offense—-Your lucky Roger—but what made you say those things? Are you really that angry? You need some help

golferinatlanta

May 1st, 2011
1:56 pm

Should be fired. Period. We don’t need this type of insensitivity

Marvel Goose

May 1st, 2011
1:58 pm

aw heck, he was just funnin’. He didn’t mention anyone’s mama, dawg, or pickup truck, so he warn’t serious. Them diversity folks in San Fransisco can tolerate a Potentate come to visit with his harem, or a cannibal king with an ice chest, but let a red neck walk in and whamo! Don’t them folks out there know that rednecks call each other homo all the time? Nobody means nuttin’ by it.

It reminds me of the time at a fund raiser for VSU in Valdosta when two good old boys was comparing pocket knives in the boy’s bathroom and discussing which part they were going to shave off’n the other and a college professor turned three shades of beige and bolted out the door. Lord did everyone laugh about that one!

Ted

May 1st, 2011
2:00 pm

Interesting how people make excuses for this piece of crap who went on this hateful, vitriolic tirade. Short of being fired, he should have been suspended for 90 games to send a strong and clear signal that this behavior will not be tolerated. The “punishment” is a joke and McDowell’s actions contribute to Atlanta’s well-deserved label of being an intolerant city. He’s a disgrace to the Braves organization.

Joey

May 1st, 2011
2:02 pm

And Ted, you are a disgrace to this blog.

Bang!

Mike Franklin

May 1st, 2011
2:04 pm

It’s a tough call. There can be no doubt that the SF fans incited the incident, but equally no doubt that this is something that has to be expected and basically ignored if one is playing or coaching at this level. The public has the right to say whatever they please. They can call you any name, pelt you with anything from batteries to beer bottles to spit. The folks on the field do not have the liberty to respond in kind.

It’s strictly an unlevel playing field but… that’s the old ball game.

As for the so-called ’sensitivity’ training? What a joke. You really want sensitivity? Try politely asking the jerk in the car next to you at the red light to turn down his electronic assault system. You’ll get all kinds of sensitivity experience from that!

Jeff Schultz

May 1st, 2011
2:04 pm

Folks, I don’t want to close this blog to commenting so please refrain from making anti-gay jokes. Thanks. J

Jeff Schultz

May 1st, 2011
2:07 pm

Pete — can’t use the word.

Jerry Pritikin aka The Bleacher Preacher

May 1st, 2011
2:07 pm

I am glad that Roger was not fired, for his purported actions. I found the recreation of the so called events in Mr. Quinns Lawyer’s office in front of his children disgusting. I hope MLB fine goes to the S.F. Harvey Milk Academy and Atlanta’s Gay Community Center. As an openly gay person who has fought for gay rights for 40 years, I am satisfied with Roger’s apology and MLB actions. For those fans who thought that McDowell should of been fired, how many of you are perfect?

P Rose

May 1st, 2011
2:07 pm

Can we lose the hot pink Sunday home jerseys next season? I think they jinx the team. What is the Sunday home record over the past four seasons? I’ll bet it stinks.

pete

May 1st, 2011
2:08 pm

sorry jeff. can you change it to gay?

RogerDodger

May 1st, 2011
2:09 pm

Roger should have been fired just for being that dumb for actually participating, not for what he said. Like when college players before the combine fire one up, with the full knowledge they will be drug tested at it.

Steve

May 1st, 2011
2:10 pm

Wow, if I threaten a customer at my work with bodily harm in front of his kids, do you think I would get a two-week unpaid vacation? Jeff, how about you? “Lucky” is an interesting term for it. I choose to believe it condones the behavior so I will spend my entertainment money elsewhere.

amateur editor

May 1st, 2011
2:12 pm

Jeff, I think the quote has a typo….. probably was “worth” not work….. Thanks.

Jeff Schultz

May 1st, 2011
2:15 pm

Pete — You can. We’re not allowed to change comments, only approve or delete. Sorry.

Jeff Schultz

May 1st, 2011
2:16 pm

Amateur editor — Damn it! Got one. Owe you a nickel.

Jackets 2011

May 1st, 2011
2:20 pm

@Brin
In August of 1969 after graduating from high school, I water-ballooned the Chicago Bleacher Bums in the lower deck from the club level at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium after Security had confiscated my weapons of choice from the upper deck. I used stairs meant for the food service to go where the police were not. I had a hunch they would do something to provoke me but I couldn’t throw the water-balloons without provocation. In the seventh inning they did an up with Sherman cheer. I, and the embarrassed friends I had dragged along, soaked them.
Since I am now an adult, assuming I don’t catch Lowe’s disease, I spin it that the water-ballooning got a cheer from the Braves fans in the nearby seats and so prevented a drunken brawl from erupting.
I should have gone into political spinning.
I was going to put this in a book but it doesn’t appear I’ll ever write it.