SAN DIEGO, Calif. – A gay men’s choir accused the San Diego Padres of homophobia after its performance of the national anthem didn’t go off as planned.
The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus walked onto the field Saturday night at Petco Park to perform the “Star-Spangled Banner” before the Padres played the Los Angeles Dodgers on "Pride Night." However, when the anthem was supposed to start, a recording of a woman singing the national anthem played instead, reports KSWB.
The 100 chorus members stood on the field before being ushered off without explanation. They were never given the chance to sing. The group wrote a lengthy post on Facebook accusing the Padres organization and its fans of homophobia and describing the incident as a "nightmare."
“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 post said.
The group accused the Padres of other “troubling comments and behavior” within the organization, saying representatives tried to force members to buy tickets to the game if they wanted to perform. The group said that wasn’t part of any previous discussion about the planned performance. The demand was later dropped, the group said.
The Padres released a statement about the incident that said it found “no malicious intent” regarding the incident and acknowledged a failure to “immediately intervene and correct the situation by those who had oversight.”
The team also terminated its relationship with the third-party contractor who was responsible for the error and said it had disciplined an employee who was responsible for Saturday’s game production.
Here’s the statement in its entirety:
After a thorough examination of the events that occurred during last night’s National Anthem, we have concluded our internal investigation and have found no evidence of malicious intent on the part of any individuals involved. Based both on the unintentional mistake that was made, as well as the failure to immediately intervene and correct the situation by those who had oversight, we have terminated our relationship with the third-party contractor who was responsible for the error, and taken disciplinary action against our employee who was responsible for the game production on Saturday.
We once again sincerely apologize to members of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, their families, and those who came out to support their Pride Night performance. 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.
The group commended Mike Dee, San Diego Padres president and CEO, for reaching out with an offer to meet with LGBT leaders to discuss the incident.