Usually, the singing of the National anthem at a ball game is a chance to show one’s respect for America. Everyone stands, hand over heart and, sometimes, sings along (each in their own key). It’s meant to be a unifying moment, an acknowledgment of baseball as “America’s game.” It should be a proud moment for the artist(s) chosen to deliver it, too. It’s a big deal, especially at the Major League level.
But the San Diego Padres showed on Saturday — which was billed as “Pride Night” — that they have no respect for the anthem or for a group of artists that had been chosen to sing it. They showed that they are homophobes and losers. The artists in question were the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus and what the Padres did to them is outrageous.
As the chorus stood in center field, preparing to sing the National anthem, a recording began to play over the Petco Field’s speakers. It was not music for the chorus to sing to — they sing a capella, anyway. No, it was a recording of Friday night’s performer singing the anthem.
From the San Diego Men’s Chorus’ statement:
No attempt was made to stop the recording and start over. No announcement of apology was made to the singers or their friends and families in the stands. No attempt to correct the situation occurred other than to force the 100 men to stand in the spotlight of center field for the song’s duration and then be escorted off the field to the heckles of baseball fans shouting homophobic taunts including ‘You sing like a girl.’
Now, of course, the Padres organization is trying hard to back-pedal and play cover-up. They issued a nonpology on Saturday evening. It had the requisite, “We apologize to anyone in the ballpark who this may have offended…” the hallmark of the nonpology. No, if you want to do it correctly, you say that you apologize to those we offended, not those we “may have” offended. Because, buddy, you did offend people. Now the Padres are blaming it on a “third-party contractor.”
It doesn’t matter who they blame, the Padres now have a serious PR problem. The fact that the incident occurred on “Pride Day,” that the SD Gay Men’s chorus was the guest artist and that nobody stopped the recording casts doubt upon this not being malicious. The Chorus was mortified and the fans yelling slurs as they left the field didn’t help. Whether it was intended to be is a moot point; it ended up being malicious.
This disgraceful behavior reflects badly on San Diego, too. San Diego is a very gay-friendly city, and inhabitants are not happy about this. The Padres may see a local backlash to this incident. Maybe the ball club received some instant karma as the Saturday night game went 17 innings and the Padres lost. Aw, too bad.
This is a video of the incident. I couldn’t watch more than 30 seconds without feeling sad and outraged:
Featured Image via Screen Capture