Flap After Gay Men Kept from Singing National Anthem at MLB Game
SAN DIEGO (CBS NEWS)-- The San Diego Gay Men's Chorus is sharply criticizing the San Diego Padres for mishandling the group's scheduled performance of the national anthem.
The chorus said on its Facebook page that 100 of its members gathered to perform the song before the game Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers when the Padres instead played the recorded voice of a woman singing the anthem. Their statement said no attempt was made to stop the recording and that the group received "homophobic taunts" while being escorted off the field.
Chorus members called for the Padres and Major League Baseball to investigate whether anyone intentionally played a woman's voice "with the purpose of denigrating and/or ridiculing gay men."
The Padres issued a statement Saturday night saying an unintentional mistake was made that prevented the chorus from performing and that "we apologize to anyone in the ballpark who this may have offended." The Padres said they'd reached out to the chorus "to express our deep regret for the error."
A Padres spokesperson told CBS News, "We have extended the invitation to the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus to come back to perform at another game this season. They have performed here numerous times in the past, and we hope to have them out again this season."
None of that was enough for the executive director of the chorus, reports CBS San Diego affiliate KFMB-TV. Bob Lehman issued a lengthy statement on the group's Facebook page that began, "What should have been a night of joy and celebration at Petco Park last night, instead turned into a nightmare raising serious questions about homophobia within the San Diego Padres organization and its relationship with the LGBT community."
Billy Bean, an MLB vice president for social responsibility and inclusion, tweeted Sunday that "it was very unfortunate that there was a technical error" that prevented the chorus from performing but added that the Padres "have supported our inclusion message at MLB without hesitation." Bean, a former Padres player, revealed he was gay in 1999, four years after his final major league season.