Major League Baseball has issued a statement condemning Cowherd’s remarks:
“Major League Baseball condemns the remarks made by Colin Cowherd, which were inappropriate, offensive and completely inconsistent with the values of our game. Mr. Cowherd owes our players of Dominican origin, and Dominican people generally, an apology.”
UPDATE 11:30 A.M.
ESPN has issued a statement to The Post about Cowherd’s comments:
Some of Colin’s comments yesterday referencing the Dominican Republic were inappropriate and do not reflect ESPN’s values of respect for all communities. Colin’s on air response today addressed the importance of making sure his opinions are fact based and responsible for all people.
On Friday, Cowherd addressed the comments he made Thursday:
“I could’ve made the point without using one country, and there’s all sorts of smart people from the Dominican Republic,” Cowherd said Friday during The Herd. “I could’ve said a third of baseball’s talent is being furnished from countries with economic hardships, therefore educational hurdles. For the record, I used the Dominican Republic because they’ve furnished baseball with so many great players.”He went on to cite reports and statistics about the country’s ranking in primary education.“I understand that when you mention a specific country, they get offended,” Cowherd said. “I get it. I do. And for that, I feel bad. I do. But I have four reports in front of me … where there are discussions of major deficiencies in the education sector at all levels. … It wasn’t a shot at them. It was data. Five, seven years ago I talked about the same subject. Was I clunky? Perhaps. Did people not like my tone? I get it. Sometimes my tone stinks.“I think when you host a radio show, just like Jon Stewart hosts a show, I think sometimes I bring up stuff … that makes people cringe. I’m not saying there’s not intelligent, educated people from the Dominican Republic. I cringe at the data too.”
The warm feelings toward Colin Cowherd as he exits ESPN lasted about 24 hours.
On Thursday, Cowherd spent a segment talking about baseball (which he rarely does) and how the perceived complexity of the sport is overblown. He was on this train of thought while talking about the criticism faced by Florida Marlins Manager Dan Jennings, who got the job despite having zero managerial experience on the professional or even collegiate level.
But then he waded into tricky territory by suggesting that baseball is so simple, even Dominicans can play it. Hardball Talk has the transcript:
“It’s too complex? I’ve never bought into that ‘baseball is too complex.’ Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic has not been known in my lifetime as having world class academic abilities. A lot of those kids come from rough backgrounds and have not had opportunities academically that other kids from other countries have. Baseball is like any sport. It’s mostly instincts. A sportswriter who covers baseball could go up to Tony La Russa and make an argument and Tony would listen and it would seem reasonable. There’s not a single NFL writer in the country who could diagram a play for Bill Belichick. You know, we get caught up in this whole ‘thinking-man’s game.’ Is it in the same family? Most people could do it. It’s not being a concert pianist. It’s in the same family.”
He then tried to walk back his comments a little, as described by Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra:
After a break, presumably after he started to catch flak for his comments, Cowherd tried to backpedal, it seems, going on about how ALL baseball players are dumb. Arguing that only four percent of the sport has college degrees and that a third of the players don’t speak “the primary language of this country, so communication can be tough, but everybody plays it and gets along fine.”Not that he fixed it well. He went back to the idea that “baseball is massive in countries where there are, you know, third world living conditions. Rough academic situations. Where young people don’t have the opportunities American kids have. Yet they come to the sport and they flourish. They dominate it. Because it’s a sport on instinct, it’s individual instinct. You know, so stop the fake controversy.”
The remarks by Cowherd, who announced this week that he’s leaving ESPN for Fox Sports, went over poorly, as expected. Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista asked for clarification:
On Thursday night, USA Today’s Jorge L. Ortiz reported that, via a source, the MLB Players’ Association is thinking about something of a boycott of both ESPN and Fox Sports:
The person, who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the topic, also said the lack of response from ESPN – and Cowherd’s future employer, Fox, has upset its members just as much as the comments, and they will consider withholding cooperation with the networks. ESPN and Fox are national rightsholders to major league games, and Fox carries its jewel events, the All-Star Game and World Series.
Others were similarly irked.