Padres apologize to the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus, but more questions remain
The San Diego Padres have released a statement, taking responsibility for interrupting the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus (SDGMC) during their scheduled appearance at Petco Park on Saturday for the “Out at the Park,” LGBT event.
They also want the community to know that they invited the SDGMC back to perform not long after the technical mishap, "Yes, we extended that offer right away on Saturday. They have performed here numerous times in the past and we hope to have them back out again this season," Shauna Wilson, Director of Communications for the Padres, told SDGLN.
The SDGMC was expected to perform the National Anthem on Saturday. However just as they took their places on the field, the PA system began to stream a woman singing the anthem instead.
It is reported that the entire song was allowed to play out and the choir never got a chance to perform their own version.
The Padres’ apology was posted on Twitter late Sunday, and states that the snafu was a mistake, and in no way meant to be malevolent.
However they have fired the contractor in charge of the sound system that night and addressed others who were internally involved with the error.
“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.” - San Diego Padres via Twitter
Former San Diego Padres player and gay athlete Billy Bean also released a statement about Saturday night’s game, saying he hopes fans realize that the Padres support the LGBT community and not to judge them by this one mistake:
“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, has 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 our community recognizes that error and intent are not related.”
The other issue at hand is the reported “homophobic taunts,” SDGMC Executive Director Bob Lehman said he heard as the choir members left the field.
Lehman claims that there were many people who shouted comments such as “You sing like a girl,” as the singers passed the stands.
He says the comments were so bad that members of his crew were devastated and shocked. He could not identify if the majority of taunts came from San Diego fans or those visiting from Los Angeles.
Lehman is also concerned about his interaction with the Padres organization leading up to the performance. In a statement he released today he claims organizers asked that his choir members pay for a ticket in order to perform even if they weren’t going to stay for the whole game.
This stipulation was eventually dropped and the SDGMC was allowed to sing without charge.