“These past two weeks have been very humbling, emotional, and a reflective time for me and my family to better understand about what has happened,” McDowell said during a Turner Field press conference. “I have and will continue to learn from this and have committed to being a productive member of the Atlanta Braves organization and to this coaching staff.”
He also apologized—a second time. The first came in a written statement on April 27.
“I would like to apologize to anyone who was offended by my actions. I am not proud of the way I acted and I know it will not happen again,” McDowell said.
McDowell’s appearance on Friday comes less than a week before Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz will meet with Georgia Equality to discuss the team’s reaction to his recent anti-gay comments and sexually-suggestive gestures with a bat.
The meeting will come three weeks after the statewide gay rights group hand-delivered a letter to Schuerholz calling McDowell a “bully” and asking for “stronger action” beyond the apology offered by McDowell and the Braves statement distancing the organization from the tirade. On May 1, Major League Baseball suspended McDowell (top photo) for two weeks—he returns to the field on May 13—fined him an undisclosed amount and ordered him to undergo sensitivity training.
Georgia Equality also said in its letter that all employees within the Braves organization should receive similar training. The group’s executive director, Jeff Graham (bottom photo), will meet with Schuerholz on May 19.
“On Monday, the Braves reached out to me to discuss the letter and next steps,” Graham said.
Schuerholz and Graham have a history. Graham was part of a coalition of LGBT and community groups that harshly criticized the Braves in 1999 over the team’s handling of pitcher John Rocker’s anti-gay outburst. Schuerholz was general manager of the Braves at the time.
“This is different than Rocker 12 years ago—a huge community coalition forced the Braves to take action. This time, the Braves seem to be addressing it and we are doing some follow up,” Graham says.
McDowell has started sensitivity training and apologized to the fans he confronted.
On Friday, McDowell declined to say what happened during the incident.
“My feeling is that this is something I’ve learned from. What happened, the volleying of what was said or what was done and what was not said or done, I don’t think is something that needs to be rehashed because I don’t think it is productive in any aspect,” he said.