After investigating reports that a fan had yelled a racial slur during a game at Coors Field in Denver on Sunday, the Colorado Rockies determined the fan was actually yelling for the team mascot, Dinger, a team spokesman said on Monday.
The incident happened in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Miami Marlins, with Miami outfielder Lewis Brinson, who is Black, at the plate. The yelling man’s words were picked up by television microphones, and many people thought he had used a racial slur.
The Marlins’ television broadcaster made a statement on his Twitter account after the game, saying he was disgusted by the language. The Rockies echoed that in their own statement and said they would investigate the matter. Tony Clark, the head of the players’ union, also issued a statement Sunday night deploring the incident as he thought it had occurred.
But other camera angles surfaced on Monday showing a man appearing to gesture toward Dinger, a purple dinosaur mascot, who appeared to be nearby in the stands. It is unclear how close the man was to the microphone, and whether Brinson heard him. Brinson never appeared to react.
Although this event seems to have been a misunderstanding, there have been incidents where players have reported racial abuse in stadiums.
In 2017, Adam Jones, then an outfielder with the Baltimore Orioles, said he had been called a racial slur while playing against the Red Sox in the outfield at Fenway Park in Boston.
After Jones detailed his experience to USA Today, Red Sox fans at Fenway Park gave Jones a standing ovation the next day.