MLB, MLBPA condemns Cowherd's remarks

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association issued statements Friday regarding the remarks ESPN Radio personality Colin Cowherd made Thursday on his show regarding baseball and players from the Dominican Republic.

On Thursday, Cowherd was discussing Marlins manager Dan Jennings' lack of managerial experience at the time he moved from being general manager to manager earlier this season. Citing the idea that baseball is "too complex," Cowherd responded by saying, "Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic."

On Friday, while addressing what he had said, Cowherd asked, "Was I clunky? Perhaps."

MLB released the following statement:

"Major League Baseball condemns the remarks made by Colin Cowherd, which were inappropriate, offensive and completely inconsistent with the values of our game. Mr. Cowherd owes our players of Dominican origin, and Dominican people generally, an apology."

The MLBPA's response came from executive director Tony Clark, a former player.

"As a veteran of 15 MLB seasons, I can assure you that our sport is infinitely more complex than some in the media would have you believe. To suggest otherwise is ignorant, and to make an ignorant point by denigrating the intelligence of our Dominican members was not 'clunky' -- it was offensive.

"These recent comments are particularly disappointing when viewed against the backdrop of the important work being done to celebrate and improve the cultural diversity of our game. Baseball's partners and stakeholders should help such efforts, not undermine them."

"Colin Cowherd's comments over the past two days do not reflect the values of ESPN or our employees," tweeted Mike Soltys, who is VP of communications at ESPN. "Colin will no longer appear on ESPN."

Cowherd apologized via Twitter on Friday afternoon, saying: "I did not intend to offend anyone w my comments. I realize my choice of words was poor and not reflective of who I am. I am sorry."

Cowherd, who had been with ESPN since 2003, is set to join FOX when his contract expires later this year. Here are his full comments from Thursday:

"It's too complex? I've never bought into that 'baseball is too complex.' Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic has not been known in my lifetime as having world-class academic abilities. A lot of those kids come from rough backgrounds and have not had opportunities academically that other kids from other countries have. Baseball is like any sport. It's mostly instincts. A sportswriter who covers baseball could go up to Tony La Russa and make an argument and Tony would listen and it would seem reasonable. There's not a single NFL writer in the country who could diagram a play for Bill Belichick. You know, we get caught up in this whole 'thinking-man's game.' Is it in the same family? Most people could do it. It's not being a concert pianist. It's in the same family."

The radio personality again broached the topic Friday on his show, saying:

"I understand that when you mention a specific country, they get offended. I get it. I do. And for that, I feel bad. I do. But I have four reports in front of me … where there are discussions of major deficiencies in the education sector at all levels…. It wasn't a shot at them [Dominican ballplayers]. It was data. Five, seven years ago I talked about the same subject. Was I clunky? Perhaps. Did people not like my tone? I get it. Sometimes my tone stinks."

Blue Jays star Jose Bautista, a native of the Dominican Republic, challenged Cowherd via Twitter to clarify his remarks, and while an apology was eventually issued, the context of his statements weren't acceptable to the face of Toronto's franchise. Bautista issued a statement of his on the issue Friday evening:

"In regards to Colin's comments, while I do appreciate his attempt to clarify his previous remarks I do not believe it was an acceptable one. I also want to take this opportunity to share how I feel. Not only am I proud to be from the Dominican Republic, but it is an honor to be representing the DR in Major League Baseball.

"Unfortunately there are hardships that do exist for people of every background and in some circumstances, yes there are "educational hurdles". However there is a difference between that and ignorance or stupidity which I believe was implied.

"This is why we should be using our platforms in a positive way and one of the reasons why I started The Bautista Family Education Fund, which continues to help raise awareness and provide assistance for young athletes by providing access to higher education. It is important that these athletes succeed on and off the field. I also want to applaud the MLBPA and MLB's recent joint efforts to improve the access to education for ALL of our players.

"Thank you for the continued support from the MLB and now out of respect to our fans, back to baseball! "

Cash Kruth is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.