Rocker apologizes for anti-gay remarks

Aug. 6, 2002 at 12:16 PM
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DALLAS, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Texas Rangers pitcher John Rocker had some more explaining to do after making what were described as anti-gay comments to patrons at a popular Dallas restaurant, the Dallas Morning News said Tuesday.

Rocker issued a written apology through the Rangers for his actions.

He said he was having brunch with his girlfriend Sunday afternoon at Breadwinners Café and Bakery when he was badgered and baited by nearby patrons. He said a group followed him outside and made an obscene gesture.

"At that point, I admit I was angry and said some things I probably should not have said," said Rocker, who created a firestorm of controversy when he made disparaging remarks about gays, minorities and others in Sports Illustrated before the 2000 season. "But I wanted to make it clear their attentions were unwelcome."

However, Richard Garcia, who waited on Rocker and his girlfriend, said the ballplayer was not provoked by other patrons. He said there were several gay customers sitting at tables near Rocker. When Rocker got up to leave, Garcia said, the ballplayer called a male couple "fruitcakes."

"That's nothing someone should hear from somebody who's supposed to be a role model," Garcia said. "Just because you're a superstar, that still does not license you to say that."

Rangers General Manager John Hart said this is a personal issue between Rocker and the others in the restaurant and the club will take no action.

In February 2000, Rocker was suspended for two weeks and fined $500 after his remarks in Sports Illustrated. He has been on the disabled list since July 4 because of bursitis in the left shoulder.

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