NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen apologized Wednesday for using a slur during a locker-room conversation with Daisuke Matsuzaka’s interpreter.
The slur was overheard by Wall Street Journal reporter Stu Woo.
“I apologize for the thoughtless remarks that I made yesterday in the clubhouse,” Warthen said in a statement released by the team. “They were a poor attempt at humor but were wrong and inappropriate in any setting. I am very sorry.”
Newsday’s Anthony Rieber described the clubhouse as “tense” on Thursday.
On Twitter, Rieber quoted pitcher Jon Niese, who had some strong words in a request to reporters:
Woo wrote Wednesday that he was “startled” when the 61-year-old Warthen approached Matsuzaka’s Japanese-American interpreter, Jeff Cutler, earlier this week and said, “I’m sorry I called you a ‘Chinaman’ yesterday.”
After Cutler replied “It’s OK,” Warthen added, “I didn’t mean to insinuate –- I know you’re not Chinese. … I thought it was a pretty good joke, though.”
Cutler told Woo he wasn’t offended by the joke referred to by Warthen. But it was a different story for the Chinese-American reporter.
“I didn’t want to be complicit in tolerating the use of a slur that should have been retired long ago,” he wrote.
Woo said he wrote his account in the Wall Street Journal after attempting to set up a meeting with Warthen through team spokesman Jay Horwitz.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson also apologized for Warthen’s “insensitive remarks” — the slur was once commonly used to disparage Chinese immigrants, Woo wrote — on behalf of the franchise.
“The remarks were offensive and inappropriate and the organization is very sorry,” Alderson said.
Warthen traveled with the team from Port St. Lucie to Viera for Thursday’s game against the Washington Nationals.
“I issued the statement. I put out the apology,” he said. “I’m sticking by the statement. I already made the apologies to all the appropriate people. I don’t think there’s any ill feelings by any of the people in this room. I made a mistake. I live up to it. It will not happen again.”
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