SAN DIEGO – Support for the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus is pouring in from around the U.S. and becoming a movement online.
Gay Men’s Chorus groups from Philadelphia and Chicago both recorded videos in support of the San Diego group’s “humiliating” national anthem experience at Petco Park over the weekend. The groups posted the videos on Facebook stating “we stand with you.”
A Petco Park control room mistake during a Padres-Dodgers pregame ceremony prevented the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus from performing the national anthem as scheduled. A recording of a woman singing the national anthem was played instead.
Chorus Executive Director Bob Lehman issued a lengthy statement on the group’s Facebook page Sunday and called for an investigation. He said “no attempt was made to stop the recording and start over. No announcement of apology was made to the singers or their friends and families in the stands. 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.”’
“What should have been a night of joy and celebration at Petco Park last night instead turned into a nightmare, raising serious questions about homophobia within the San Diego Padres organization and its relationship with the LGBT community,” he said.
The Padres issued an initial apology Saturday night, followed by the statement Sunday.
Major League Baseball announced Monday that it will investigate the mishap. Padres President and CEO Mike Dee said the team is eager for the facts to come out regarding the incident, which has received international attention.
A team investigation found “no evidence of malicious intent,” but has terminated its relationship with Art Romero, known as DJ Art Form who plays the music at Petco Park.
Romero told the listeners to the Scott and BR show on XX 1090 that he meant to ill will to anyone.
“My apologies to everybody affected by this, I hope we can move forward as a city and as Padres fans… I am trying to own up to my mistake and meant no malicious intent or discriminatory action against anyone that night,” said Romero.