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MLB umpire apologizes for tweet suggesting violence over Trump impeachment

"Once I read what I had tweeted I realized the violence in those words and have since deleted it," umpire Rob Drake wrote in his apology. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

A Major League Baseball umpire apologized Thursday for a tweet in which he reportedly suggested violence would ensue from an impeachment of President Trump.

“I want to personally apologize to everyone that my words made feel less safe,” Rob Drake said in a statement to ESPN, which had first reported on his tweet.

“I especially want to apologize to every person who has been affected by gun violence in our country,” Drake also said in the statement.

According to ESPN, Drake’s since-deleted tweeted was posted Tuesday, when the World Series began with a Game 1 triumph by the Washington Nationals over the Houston Astros.

“I will be buying an AR-15 tomorrow, because if you impeach MY PRESIDENT this way, YOU WILL HAVE ANOTHER CIVAL WAR!!!” Drake reportedly wrote in his tweet, adding a hashtag, “#MAGA2020.”

In addition to deleting the tweet, Drake on Wednesday deactivated his Twitter account, on which he had repeatedly written about politics.

“You can’t do an impeachment inquiry from the basement of Capital Hill without even a vote!” Drake wrote recently. “What is going on in this country.”

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Drake, 50, has not been working in the postseason, but he has been a full-time major league umpire since 2010. He started calling spring training and major league games in 1999. According to his MLB bio, the Arizona resident is a co-founder of Calling for Christ, an umpire-focused ministry.

The MLB umpires’ union described Drake on Wednesday as “a passionate individual and an outstanding umpire” who “chose the wrong way to convey his opinion about our great country.”

“His posting does not represent the view of the MLBUA or reflect those of the umpires we represent,” the union said of Drake in a statement. “… We are a group of individuals with diverse opinions and beliefs, united in our desire to continue our excellence officiating MLB games.”

Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) said on Capitol Hill on Thursday, “If you’re talking about anything that comes close to inciting violence, that’s where I draw the line.”

King said to TMZ Sports that while he thought “people should have a very wide range of what they can say” as part of their right to free speech, “nobody should be talking about AR-15s. Not in a democracy.”

Speaking Wednesday before Game 2 of the World Series, in which the Nationals took a 2-0 series lead over the Astros, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN his office was looking into Drake’s Twitter activity.

The Drake story was the second major off-field blemish for the sport during its championship round, following a Sports Illustrated report of an Astros executive’s domestic violence-related outburst directed at three female reporters.

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The Astros on Thursday fired the executive, former assistant general manager Brandon Taubman. The team’s general manager, Jeff Luhnow, said his organization “never should have” issued an initial statement that disputed SI’s account and impugned the integrity of the writer.

In his statement Thursday, Drake said he also wanted to “acknowledge and apologize for the controversy this has brought to Major League Baseball, my fellow umpires and my family.”

“I never intended to diminish the threat of violence from assault weapons, or violence of any kind,” he wrote. “I’m going to learn from this.

“Once I read what I had tweeted I realized the violence in those words and have since deleted it. I know that I cannot unsay those words, but please accept my sincerest apologies.”

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