During a broadcast of the New York Mets vs. Arizona Diamondbacks game on Tuesday, MLB announcer Bob Brenly made a comment regarding a head piece worn by Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman that sparked backlash because it reportedly had racist undertones.
Brenly compared the pitcher’s do-rag to the apparel of an older generation of baseball players. He clearly meant the comment in a jocular way, using stark contrast.
“Pretty sure that’s the same do-rag that Tom Seaver used to wear when he pitched for the Mets,” said Brenly during the live broadcast.
Onward and upward…through all adversity and racist undertones. The climb continues through all! 🗣— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) June 2, 2021
The Mets’ pitcher responded via Twitter on Tuesday evening with the following message: “Onward and upward…through all adversity and racist undertones. The climb continues through all!”
Bob Brenly’s comment was also addressed by Mets manager Luis Rojas. According to a report, Rojas admitted to feeling “very disappointed” by the comments—fully convinced of the racial implications. “If it was like a joke or something, I didn’t get it. That was my initial reaction to it. I think it’s completely inappropriate.”
Some fans have questioned whether there were any racist intent from the announcer since it was rather a innocuous statement.
Members of the MLB have since openly called for further discourse on race, though their outrage coincides with the sport’s decline in popularity. The league recently relocated the All-Star Game in response to Georgia voting legislation, which it also deemed racist, and the MLB’s experiment with polemic topics may soon lead the league down the same cautionary path as the NBA.
Luis Rojas on Bob Brenly's comments about Marcus Stroman's durag:— SNY (@SNYtv) June 2, 2021
"It's completely inappropriate. I was very disappointed when I heard it. If it was a joke, I didn't get it. That will not help the baseball crowd grow in this game" pic.twitter.com/Y3c9htfhnh
Providing some humanity to the situation, Brenly apologized for the comment in a statement released Wednesday after Stromen’s tweet.
“During last night’s game, I made a poor attempt at humor that was insensitive and wrong … I apologize to Marcus Stroman and have reached out directly to share those thoughts. I have had several conversations with the D-backs and we agree that seeking sensitivity training is an important step so I can continue to learn from my mistakes in order to be better in the future.”