The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus is lashing out at the San Diego Padres after the group, standing on the field at Petco Park to sing the national anthem on Saturday evening, was upstaged by a recorded female voiceover singing instead.
In a statement, the chorus said: “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.”
The statement continued:
… 100 volunteer singers of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus took to the field to proudly sing the National Anthem. Instead, in front of the large crowd gathered for the LA Dodgers game, the San Diego Padres played the recorded voice of a woman singing the anthem.
No attempt was made to stop the recording and start over. No announcement of apology was made to the singers or their friends and families in the stands. No attempt to correct the situation occurred other than to force the 100 men to stand in the spotlight of center field for the song’s duration and then be escorted off the field to the heckles of baseball fans shouting homophobic taunts including “You sing like a girl.”
The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus is calling on the Padres and Major League Baseball to investigate the incident as a potential hate crime, and calling on city officials to investigate as well.
The Padres immediately apologized, and responded on Sunday, according to local ABC News affiliate 10 News, saying there had been “no evidence of malicious intent on the part of any individuals involved,” but noting that the team had fired the “third-party contractor” responsible for handling the national anthem.
The Padres won the game 3-2 with a bases-loaded walk in the 11th inning.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new e-book, Leadership Secrets of the Kings and Prophets: What the Bible’s Struggles Teach Us About Today, is on sale through Amazon Kindle Direct. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.