After investigating reports that a fan had yelled a racial slur during a game at Coors Field in Denver on Sunday, the Colorado Rockies determined the fan was actually yelling for the team mascot, Dinger, the team said in a statement on Monday.
The incident happened in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Miami Marlins, with Miami outfielder Lewis Brinson, who is Black, at the plate. The yelling man’s words were picked up by television microphones, and many people thought he had used a racial slur.
A Marlins television broadcaster made a statement on his Twitter account after the game, saying he was disgusted by the language. The Rockies echoed that sentiment, and said they would investigate the matter. Tony Clark, the head of the players’ union, also issued a statement Sunday night deploring the incident as he thought it had occurred.
But other camera angles surfaced on Monday showing a man appearing to gesture toward Dinger, a purple dinosaur mascot, who appeared to be nearby in the stands. It is unclear how close the man was to the microphone, and whether Brinson heard him. Brinson never appeared to react.
In the statement, the team said: “After a thorough investigation that included calls, emails and video clips from concerned fans, media and broadcast partners, the Colorado Rockies have concluded that the fan was indeed yelling for Rockies mascot Dinger in hopes of getting his attention for a photo, and there was never any racial slur that occurred.
“The Rockies remain dedicated to providing an inclusive environment for all fans, players and guests at Coors Field, and any fan using derogatory language of any kind will be ejected from Coors Field.”
Although this event seems to have been a misunderstanding, there have been incidents in which players have reported racial abuse in stadiums.
In 2017, Adam Jones, then an outfielder with the Baltimore Orioles, said he had been called a racial slur while playing against the Red Sox in the outfield at Fenway Park in Boston.
After Jones detailed his experience to USA Today, Red Sox fans at Fenway Park gave Jones a standing ovation the next day.