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Mets pitching coach won’t be disciplined for racial slur toward Dice-K’s interpreter

dan-warthen

In an embarrassing, sad and downright perplexing story that demonstrates how benignly pervasive racism can be in sports, New York Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen has apologized for using a racial slur for Asians during an interaction with the interpreter for pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka.

What makes the story even more confusing is that what broke the story open was how Warthen was overheard using the racial slur while apologizing for using the racial slur earlier.

Stu Woo, a Chinese-American reporter for The Wall Street Journal, relayed what transpired in a column published Wednesday. In it, Woo describes a conversation he and Jeff Cutler, a Japanese-American who serves as Matsuzaka’s interpreter for the Mets, were having about Asian communities in America when the two were interrupted by a voice.

“Jeff!”

Cutler and I turned around. It was Dan Warthen, the Mets pitching coach.

“I’m sorry I called you a ‘Chinaman’ yesterday,” Warthen told Cutler.

“It’s OK,” Cutler replied.

“I didn’t mean to insinuate –- I know you’re not Chinese,” Warthen said. He paused. “I thought it was a pretty good joke, though.”

“It was,” Cutler said, with a small laugh.

Warthen walked away.

Um, yeah. Obviously, Warthen has never seen “The Big Lebowski” and doesn’t understand preferred nomenclatures and whatnot. And little else, apparently, as it relates to inappropriate conduct that demonstrates a lack of racial sensitivity.

On Wednesday, Warthen and Mets general manager Sandy Alderson issued separate statements (via the New York Post):

On Wednesday night, Warthen released a statement that read: “I apologize for the thoughtless remarks that I made [Monday] in the clubhouse. They were a poor attempt at humor but were wrong and inappropriate in any setting and I am very sorry.”

General manager Sandy Alderson, in a statement, wrote: “On behalf of the entire organization, I apologize for the insensitive remarks made by one of our staff members. The remarks were offensive and inappropriate and the organization is very sorry.”

Alderson subsequently announced Thursday that Warthen will not be subject to discipline over the ignorant transgression, saying, “I’ve got nothing to add or say about it.”

Warthen similarly was evasive about the issue, clearly hoping that it will all just go away.

“I’ve already made the apologies to all the appropriate people,” Warthen said, via the New York Post. “I don’t think there are 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.”

Fair enough. But sometimes, simply apologizing isn’t sufficient. What will be considered sufficient really isn’t up to Warthen, or the Mets, for that matter.

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