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Bowers apologizes for homophobic outburst
Jessica Earle, ctvedmonton.ca
Published Sunday, August 8, 2010 7:19PM MDT
The man who was suspended as field manager of the Edmonton Capital says he regrets lashing out at an openly gay umpire in Orange County on July 31st.
Brent Bowers admits what Billy Van Raaphorst told the League was true.
In a heated moment, he screamed, "You know what I heard? I heard you are a (expletive) faggot."
The umpire report goes on to say that at one point Bowers bent over and grabbed his own ankles, while saying, "I ought to kick your ass, you faggot."
In a phone interview with CTV Edmonton, Bowers says the backlash from his comments has been a sobering experience.
"I went over to him and I said those words," he said.
"If I had ten minutes to look back… I've grown up more in three days than ever before. I want to apologize to the league, to the Oilers."
The Edmonton Capitals says Bowers met with team governor Patrick LaForge and Golden Baseball League officials on Saturday to discuss the incident. After the field manager was suspended for the remainder of the season and fined $5,000 for his actions, officials say he submitted his resignation.
"His conduct is intolerable by the organization and there isn't any consequence of him leaving that's even important enough for me to be concerned about it," said LaForge.
"What's important [is] that the message gets out to people in our community and fans of this sport that that kind of conduct is just unacceptable."
The zero-tolerance standard is garnering support from a University of Alberta researcher who specializes in sexual minority studies and services.
"I think the Edmonton Capitals and the Katz Group should be commended for addressing this issue swiftly," said Kristopher Wells.
"I think [Bower's] conduct was above redemption and certainly if he had uttered those words in Edmonton he'd be facing a Hates crime investigation."
But Wells also takes the incident one step further, saying it speaks to bigger issues in semi-professional and professional sports.
"Homophobia in sports is equated to the elephant in the room. It's omnipresent but nobody wants to talk about it."
Wells challenges managerial staff with the club team and with the Katz group to march in the Gay Pride parade to show their support for the full spectrum of sexual orientation.
While officials with the Edmonton Capitals have not announced plans to do so, the organization says it does plan to implement diversity training.
Michael Phair, a gay politician who served as an Edmonton city councillor for 15 years, sees the outcry generated over the incident as a sign of progress.
"I think that says something about society today," he said.
"Ten years ago maybe people wouldn't have seen that as so significant. Today people say, ‘that is just not allowed - you just can't do that.'"
Gordon Gerlach, director of Baseball operations and hitting coach, will step in as field manager for the rest of the season.
With Files from CTV's Kevin Armstrong