New York Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen reportedly apologized in the team’s spring training locker room after calling a player’s Japanese-American translator a “Chinaman.”
Stu Woo, a reporter from the Wall Street Journal, was reportedly present for a conversation on Monday between Warthen and Jeff Cutler, a 30-year-old man who serves as a translator for pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. According to Woo’s account, he and Cutler were discussing Asian-American communities when Warthen addressed Cutler. A transcript of their conversation can be found below.
“I’m sorry I called you a ‘Chinaman’ yesterday,” Warthen allegedly told Cutler. “I didn’t mean to insinuate—I know you’re not Chinese. I thought it was a pretty good joke, though.”
“It’s OK,” Cutler said “with a small laugh,” according to Woo. “It was.” Later, Cutler declined to go into detail about Warthen’s “joke,” but said that he was not offended by the remark, despite its potentially racist undertones.
Initially, Jay Horwitz, the Mets’ vice president of public relations, told the Wall Street Journal that Warthen would not publicly comment on the “Chinaman” remark. However, on Wednesday, Warthen and General Manager Sandy Alderson released a joint statement in which they addressed the conversation.
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“I apologize for the thoughtless remarks that I made yesterday in the clubhouse,” Warthen said in the statement, via Deadspin. “They were a poor attempt at humor but were wrong and inappropriate in any setting. I am very sorry.”
“On behalf of the entire organization, I apologize for the insensitive remarks made by one of our staff members,” Alderson added. “The remarks were offensive and inappropriate and the organization is very sorry.”
Despite the team’s apology, Mets pitcher Jon Niese took exception with the media’s dissemination of Warthen’s racially charged remark. “Stop tweeting about our clubhouse,” Niese told reporters, according to Newsday’s Anthony Rieber. “That [expletive]’s got to stop.”