Antigay ballplayer makes lukewarm apology

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com May 02 2003 12:00 AM ET

Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Todd Jones apologized to the organization and his teammates Wednesday for his recent antigay remarks, but he didn't back off what he said. "I think my only mistake was that I made my views public," said Jones, who was teary-eyed at times during his brief statement. "And for that I apologize to the Rockies and I apologize to my teammates for putting them through this."

In an entertainment story that ran in The Denver Post on Sunday, Jones said he would not want to have a gay teammate and that gays should not go around flaunting their sexuality. The comments were included in a story comparing the story line of a Broadway play about a gay baseball player to what might happen if the scenario played out in real life. The play, Take Me Out, centers on the repercussions following the coming-out of a major league baseball player. Jones, who hails from Marietta, Ga., said in his interview that a gay player would cause tension within the clubhouse and that opposing pitchers likely would aim at his head. "I wouldn't want a gay guy being around me," Jones told the Post. "It's got nothing to do with me being scared. That's the problem: All these people say he's got all these rights. Yeah, he's got rights or whatever, but he shouldn't walk around proud. It's like he's rubbing it in our face. 'See me, hear me roar.' We're not trying to be close-minded, but then again, why be confrontational when you don't really have to be?"

Rockies management responded Monday with a statement on the team's Web site saying that Jones's comments were "unfortunate" and did not reflect the team's views. "We've handled Todd's comments internally, and we've turned the page," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said Wednesday. Jones made it clear that his comments don't represent the team. "The Colorado Rockies have absolutely nothing to do with the comments I said, and they shouldn't be held accountable for what I said," Jones said. "They're a top-notch organization. They have everyone's rights guarded and protected. My comments were mine, and my mistake was, I think, saying them publicly."