Bob Brenly, a former Arizona Diamondbacks major league manager turned TV analyst, said today he is taking a voluntary leave of absence from his commentary duties at Bally Sports Arizona to seek sensitivity training.
Brenly’s decision follows an on-air attempt at humor on Tuesday that fell flat. He commented on New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman’s head covering, saying, “Pretty sure that’s the same do-rag that Tom Seaver used to wear when he pitched for the Mets.”
A do-rag (sometimes spelled du-rag) is a close-fitting, typically stretchable piece of cloth that is worn on the head (as to hold a hairstyle in place) and that usually has long ends which are tied in the back,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. The phrase dates to 1968.
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After the game, Stroman tweeted, “Onward and upward…through all adversity and racist undertones. The climb continues through all!”
Brenly responded the next day with a statement.
“I want to apologize again for my insensitive reference on Wednesday, as it does not reflect my values or who I am,” Brenly said as part of a statement issued to The Athletic. “Beginning today, I have voluntarily decided to take some time off to listen, reflect and devote my attention to awareness training related to diversity and inclusion to enhance my understanding and appreciation of others. I plan to return to the booth next homestand, hopefully a better person.”
Brenly also issued an apology via social media on Wednesday, saying “I made a poor attempt at humor that was insensitive and wrong.”
The Stroman incident isn’t all Brenly is attempting to overcome.
Former Chicago Cubs player Aramis Ramirez told The Athletic in a story published Thursday that he felt Brenly was unfair to Latin players when he was with the Cubs as a broadcaster. Ramirez said Brenly “should be fired right now.”
Brenly responded to that accusation as well.
“With respect to Aramis Ramirez, Starlin Castro, Geovany Soto and all of the players who I have covered over the years, I have the utmost respect for their life stories, their talents and their careers,” Brenly said in the statement to The Athletic. “Having played the game and managed for many years, I understand how hard it is to play so successfully for such a long time. My job for many years has been to talk about baseball and I have had thousands of opportunities to both applaud and analyze performances and was privileged to witness the career of players like Aramis Ramirez.
“My job is to describe Major League Baseball and to call it the way I see it — the good and the bad. I have always tried to do so in an honest, unbiased way, regardless of a player’s background or race. I am sorry that my work offended Aramis, as I think of him as one of the most successful players of his generation.”