New York Mets’ pitching coach Dan Warthen apologized on Wednesday for making a racial slur. The incident occurred when Warthen was joking with Jeff Cutler, an Asian American interpreter for pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka.
During an interview Wednesday, Warthen approached him to issue an apology for referring to Cutler as a “Chinaman.” It the midst of the apology, a reporter from the Wall Street Journal overheard the comment and took offense being a Chinese American himself. Warthen apparently offended someone by apologizing to someone else who had not been offended in the first place.
Sandy Alderson, the Mets’ general manager, and Warthen each issued more apologies through official statements.
The fact of the matter is that Warthen should know better than to use any kind of perceived racial slur with team management, staff, etc. In today’s politically correct world, every word can and will be taken offensively and used against whoever’s mouth the word comes out of.
On the other hand, professional sports are a much different working atmosphere compared to other traditional working places. There is much more vulgar and profane language tossed around; athletes are used to it as are coaches, many of whom are former players themselves.
The conversation was taking place between the pitching coach and the interpreter. The reporter was only a bystander who overheard the comment. It was an apology at that. This sounds like a reporter who was looking to cause trouble where there obviously was none. Cutler was not offended by the comment, or at least that is what he told Warthen, and that should have been the end of the situation.
Reporters have a privilege to be in the locker room, not a right, and they should respect the boundaries that are present in the locker room. Had Warthen directed the comment at the WSJ reporter, then that would be an issue to deal with. That was not the case.
Warthen’s will have bigger problems to deal with this season however, as he has to work with a pitching staff that is without ace Matt Harvey and must use the likes of Matsuzaka. Good luck with that task.