ESPN Radio host Colin Cowherd used his show Friday to clarify his remarks one day after appearing to criticize the intelligence of people from the Dominican Republic during a discussion about the difficulty of managing in the major leagues.
Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today reported earlier Friday that the Major League Baseball Players Association was considering a plan to withhold the cooperation of players during broadcasts on both ESPN and Fox, Cowherd's future employer, due to the insensitive comments.
"It's baseball," Cowherd said. "You don't think a general manager can manage? Like it's impossible? The game is too complex? I've never bought into that, 'Baseball's just too complex.' Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic."
Tony Clark, head of the players union, released a statement, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
"As a veteran of fifteen MLB seasons, I can assure you that our sport is infinitely more complex than some in the media would have you believe. To suggest otherwise is ignorant, and to make an ignorant point by denigrating the intelligence of our Dominican members was not “clunky” -- it was offensive.
"These recent comments are particularly disappointing when viewed against the backdrop of the important work being done to celebrate and improve the cultural diversity of our game. Baseball's partners and stakeholders should help such efforts, not undermine them."
Dominican star Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays immediately spoke out about the situation:
On Friday's edition of The Herd, Cowherd tried to further explain his position, via ESPN.com:
I could've made the point without using one country, and there's all sorts of smart people from the Dominican Republic. I could've said a third of baseball's talent is being furnished from countries with economic hardships, therefore educational hurdles. For the record, I used the Dominican Republic because they've furnished baseball with so many great players. ...
... I understand that when you mention a specific country, they get offended. I get it. I do. And for that, I feel bad. I do. But I have four reports in front of me ... where there are discussions of major deficiencies in the education sector at all levels. ... It wasn't a shot at them. It was data.
The controversial personality blamed the backlash on his poor tone used during the segment.
The ESPN.com report also included a statement from ESPN about the incident. "Some of Colin's comments yesterday referencing the Dominican Republic were inappropriate and do not reflect ESPN's values of respect for all communities," the statement said. "Colin's on-air response today addressed the importance of making sure his opinions are fact based and responsible for all people."
ESPN's vice president of corporate communications Mike Soltys added to that, saying "Cowherd’s comments over the past two days do not reflect the values of ESPN or our employees. Colin will no longer appear on ESPN."
Major League Baseball also issued a statement on the matter, with comments passed on by Rosenthal: "Major League Baseball condemns the remarks made by Colin Cowherd, which were inappropriate, offensive and completely inconsistent with the values of our game. Mr. Cowherd owes our players of Dominican origin, and Dominican people generally, an apology."
It's now up to the players association to decide whether Cowherd's explanation is enough to move forward.