San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus calls for investigation of Padres following National Anthem controversy
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — What’s been called a control room error at Petco Park prior to the Los Angeles Dodgers-San Diego Padres game has become a controversial topic. The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus was scheduled to perform the National Anthem to open the Padres’ game, but the 100 men gathered never had the opportunity to do so. Instead, a recording of a woman singing the anthem played over the sound system, leaving the group to wait in the field for the embarrassing moment to end.
"What should have been a night of joy and celebration at Petco Park [Saturday] night, instead turned into a nightmare raising serious questions about
homophobia within the San Diego Padres organization and its relationship with the LGBT community," Bob Lehman, executive director of the chorus, wrote in a statement on the group’s Facebook page.
"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 statement read.
"… With this as background, we call on the San Diego Padres and Major League Baseball to immediately launch a full and transparent investigation into the incident to determine if someone or some people intentionally engaged in anti-gay discrimination or a hate crime by playing a female’s voice to represent a group of gay men with the purpose of denigrating and/or ridiculing gay men. The historic significance of such an act is not lost on the LGBT community, especially in relation to professional sports, and added to the depth of embarrassment experienced by the singers and their families."
The Padres immediately publicly apologized for the incident, but have not followed-up with additional information as to what caused the error.