(Reuters) - Radio host Colin Cowherd will no longer appear on ESPN following insensitive remarks he made about baseball players from Dominican Republic, Walt Disney Co’s sports network said on Friday.
“Colin Cowherd’s comments over the past two days do not reflect the values of ESPN or our employees,” ESPN said in a statement. “Colin will no longer appear on ESPN.”
Cowherd, who it was announced earlier is leaving ESPN to join Fox Sports, had said while hosting his national radio show ‘The Herd’ on Thursday he did not believe baseball was complex and that a third of the sport was from the Dominican Republic.
He added that the Caribbean nation had “not been known, in my lifetime, as having, you know, world-class academic abilities”.
His remarks were condemned by Major League Baseball and Players Association as “offensive”.
Cowherd had been discussing whether a general manager in baseball had the ability to step down from an executive position to take over managerial duties, following Dan Jennings’ move in that direction with the Miami Marlins in May.
“It’s baseball,” Cowherd said. “You don’t think a general manager can manage? Like it’s impossible? The game is too complex?
“I’ve never bought into that, ‘Baseball’s just too complex.’ Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic.”
Cowherd’s comments sparked an immediate reaction with Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, a Dominican Republic native, tweeting: “Dear Mr. @ESPN_Colin before i rip you a new one i would like for you to explain what u meant to say about baseball and dominicans, please.”
On Friday, Major League Baseball said in a statement that it “condemns the remarks made by Colin Cowherd, which were inappropriate, offensive and completely inconsistent with the values of our game”.
MLB added: “Mr. Cowherd owes our players of Dominican origin, and Dominican people generally, an apology.”
Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said: “As a veteran of 15 MLB seasons, I can assure you that our sport is infinitely more complex than some in the media would have you believe.
“To suggest otherwise is ignorant, and to make an ignorant point by denigrating the intelligence of our Dominican members was not ‘clunky’ — it was offensive.”
Cowherd issued an apology via Twitter on Friday: “I did not intend to offend anyone with my comments. I realize my choice of words was poor and not reflective of who I am. I am sorry.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Gene Cherry