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MLB To Investigate National Anthem Mishap, Padres CEO Says

People fill Petco as the Padres play the Dodgers, May 21, 2016.
Brooke Ruth
People fill Petco as the Padres play the Dodgers, May 21, 2016.

Major League Baseball will investigate a mishap that prevented the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus from performing the national anthem at Saturday night's Padres-Dodgers game, Padres President and CEO Mike Dee said Monday.

Dee posted this message on Twitter:

"We are pleased that MLB will look into this matter and the Padres will cooperate fully," Dee said in a posting on his Twitter account.


He said the team is eager for the facts to come out regarding the incident, which has received international attention.

A team investigation found "no evidence of malicious intent," but has terminated its relationship with the third-party contractor deemed responsible for the error and disciplined an employee.

A control room mistake during a pregame ceremony prevented the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus from performing the national anthem as scheduled. A recording of a woman singing the national anthem was played instead.

Councilman Todd Gloria, who is gay and represents the center of the LGBT community in Hillcrest, told City News Service that he has spoken with the team and chorus officials several times since the incident.

"The whole situation is disappointing, bizarre, unnecessary," Gloria said.


He said it appears an "honest mistake" was made but questioned why the recording was stopped immediately, or the chorus wasn't allowed to return for the seventh-inning stretch.

"There were many more elegant ways to handle this, and that wasn't what happened," Gloria said.

That the story has spread internationally a little more than a month before San Diego hosts the All-Star Game is unfortunate because the Padres organization is "very inclusive" and has a long history of recognizing the local LGBT community, he said.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer held a pre-planned meeting today with members of the Padres ownership group, and discussed Saturday night's events.

"It was a shame to see an event the Padres planned in order to celebrate diversity instead become overshadowed by this unfortunate mishap," Faulconer said in a statement.

"I've spoken with Padres ownership and they have expressed to me their sincere regret and explained the corrective actions they are taking," the mayor said. "I support and encourage the ongoing dialogue between the Padres, Gay Men's Chorus and LGBT community leaders."

Chorus Executive Director Bob Lehman issued a lengthy statement on the group's Facebook page Sunday and called for an investigation. He said "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."'

"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," he said.

The Padres issued an initial apology Saturday night, followed by the statement Sunday.

"We once again sincerely apologize to the members of the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus, their families and those who came out to support their Pride Night performance," the statement said. "The Padres organization is proud of our longstanding commitment to inclusion — within both our sport and our community. We deeply regret that a mistake on our part has called this into question, but accept full responsibility."