Monday, May 23, 2016

San Diego Padres Apologize For National Anthem Incident With Gay Men's Chorus

On Saturday, May 21st, the San Diego Padres hosted "Pride Night," an annual event welcoming the Padres LGBT fans. As part of the evening, the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus was invited to sing the national anthem.

However, when the time came for the men to sing, a recording of a woman's voice singing the anthem was played over the sound system and the men could not be heard. Apparently no attempt was made to stop the recording, leaving the men's chorus standing awkwardly on the field. At the time of the incident, there was no apology or explanation announced.

Later, the Padres issued this statement via Twitter: “This evening, during the pregame ceremony, a mistake was made in the Petco Park control room that prevented the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus from performing the National Anthem as scheduled. We apologize to anyone in the ballpark who this may have offended, and have reached out to the Chorus to express our deep regret for the error.”

More from the Washington Post:

Bob Lehman, executive director of the SDGMC, said via Facebook, “What should have been a night of joy and celebration at Petco Park last night, instead turned into a nightmare raising serious questions about homophobia within the San Diego Padres organization and its relationship with the LGBT community.”

“No attempt was made to stop the recording and start over,” Lehman added. “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.’ ”

“We were just excited to be at a game and let the audience see us and hear us and let us know that we’re sports fans, too, and we’re normal guys,” RC Haus, artistic director for the chorus, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “And then a woman sings over us, and it was mortifying.”

“I can understand how that [mistake] happens, but what I didn’t understand was why they didn’t stop the track or apologize,” Haus added.

Update #1: The Padres tweeted out another statement Sunday night, in which the team said that an “internal investigation” had revealed “no malicious intent.” However, the “unintentional mistake” did lead San Diego to “take disciplinary action against [an] employee” and let go of a “third-party contractor.” The Padres offered another apology and noted their “commitment to inclusion.”

Update #2: A spokesman for Major League Baseball says the organization will investigate what exactly happened Saturday night.

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