The LGBT community is mad at the San Diego Padres for a mix up during the National Anthem at their “Out at the Ballpark” night at Petco.
Out at the Ballpark night is exactly what it sounds like; an evening at Petco for LGBT organizations and communities in the San Diego area. The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus was set to perform the National Anthem before the game.
Apparently during their performance, a stadium sound operator had a track of a woman singing the National Anthem playing over the speakers at Petco, drowning out the chorus. Members of the Gay Men’s Chorus were outraged and accused the Padres of homophobia and demanded an internal investigation by Major League Baseball.
Upon investigation the Padres organization claimed that they found no malicious intent, but had disciplined an employee, and discontinued their relationship with a certain contractor. The Padres then released the following statement on Twitter.
“After a thorough examination of the events that occurred during last night’s National Anthem, we have concluded our internal investigation and have found no evidence of malicious intent on the part of any individuals involved. Based both on the unintentional mistake that was made, as well as the failure to immediately intervene and correct the situation by those who had oversight, we have terminated our relationship with the third-party contractor who was responsible for the error, and taken disciplinary action against our employee who was responsible for the game production on Saturday.
We once again sincerely apologize to members of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, their families and those who came out to support their Pride Night performance. The Padres organization is proud of our longstanding commitment to inclusion – within both our sport and our community. We deeply regret that a mistake on our part has called this into question, but accept full responsibility.”
Members of the SD Gay Men’s Chorus said they were then escorted off of the field, and were subject to a crowd of hecklers yelling offensive slurs. One fan allegedly yelling “that’s the best you’ve ever sounded. You sang like a girl, which to a gay man is pretty insulting.”
The chorus posted this statement on their Facebook page.
Major League Baseball’s head of inclusion, Billy Bean, also chipped in with a statement on Twitter tagging the Padres and the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus twitter accounts.
“This past Saturday night, it was very unfortunate that there was a technical error during the National Anthem at Petco Park. However, I want to convey that my former team, the San Diego Padres, have supported our inclusion message at MLB without hesitation even before my return to baseball in 2014. They have led by example by inviting me, numerous times, to speak with their players and employees. I have also worked very closely with their owner Ron Fowler and team CEO Mike Dee, and I can assure you that they have made every effort to include the LGBT community, and champion equality in MLB for each and every one of us. I’m so proud of the Padres organization for hosting an LGBT Pride event during the season, and I would hope that the community recognizes that error and intent are not related.”