Rockies, MLBPA, and ESPN slammed for condemning ‘racist’ fan without verifying story first

The Rockies, MLBPA, and ESPN are receiving criticism after jumping the gun on condemning a fan at Sunday’s game against the Miami Marlins.

The Rockies and the MLBPA both released statements Monday condemning the fan who yelled something which sounded like the racial slur “N*****” towards batter Lewis Brinson but was in fact calling for the mascot “Dinger.”

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“Unbelievably pathetic,” Greg Price tweeted. “A really bang up job all around by the Twitter blue check brigade. I especially love how ESPN didn’t even include “allegedly” or “reportedly” in their headline. They treated it right away as fact.”

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The fan, who was at the game with his family, apparently wanted a photo with the mascot Dinger and was trying to get its attention by hollering and waving. He reportedly spoke to news anchor Steve Staeger, saying that he wants to remain anonymous due to so many people on Twitter lashing out at him. The fan didn’t even know about the incident until his daughter, the ticket holder, got a call from the ballpark.

“Many people are questioning this man’s use of a hard G when he says “Dinger,” tweeted Staeger. “I can confirm after talking to him on the phone this morning – that’s how he pronounces the mascot’s name.”

During the TV broadcast of Sunday’s game, the fan is heard hollering at the top of the 9th inning when black player Lewis Brinson is at-bat. Brinson didn’t react to the yelling, nor did anyone around him. The clip went viral on social media, with heated debate about whether the unidentified fan screamed for the mascot or hailed Brinson by an offensive term. The fan can be seen behind the plate, waving and hollering in the direction of the mascot, not Brinson.

The Rockies have posted an amended statement on social media: “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.”

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This statement was in contrast to a previous statement, which said: “The Colorado Rockies are disgusted at the racial slur by a fan directed at the Marlins’ Lewis Brinson during the ninth inning of today’s game. Although the subject was not identified before the end of the game, the Rockies are still investigating this incident.”

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