DENVER (KDVR) — A day after the Colorado Rockies released a statement regarding the use of an alleged racial slur targeting Miami Marlins’ Lewis Brinson, the organization confirmed that the fan was shouting “Dinger,” the name of the team’s mascot, and not using a slur.
Monday morning, the team issued a new statement.
“After a thorough investigation that included calls, emails and video clips from concerned fans, media and broadcast partners, the Colorado Rockies have concluded that the fan was indeed yelling for Rockies mascot Dinger in hopes of getting his attention for a photo, and there was never any racial slur that occurred,” the statement said. “The Rockies remain dedicated to providing an inclusive environment for all fans, players and guests at Coors Field, and any fan using derogatory language of any kind will be ejected from Coors Field.”
Video appears to show the fan in question directing his attention toward Dinger and not the player at bat. Some fans now speculating that Dinger’s name will be changed because of this.
Michelle Baum, associate professor of public relations at Metropolitan State University of Denver, responded to the debacle.
“The initial tweet issued by the Colorado Rockies was a misstep, in my opinion,” Baum said. “Based on the social media banter, this was a reasonable opportunity for the Rockies to one, acknowledge that an incident may have occurred; two, to restate and remind fans of the organization’s zero-tolerance policy; and three, to let fans know they were taking this incident seriously and investigating the matter.
“But the statement went too far by categorizing the incident as a ‘racial slur’ without any proof or confirmation,” Baum continued. “Their follow-up tweet issued today at 1:10 p.m. explaining their findings was handled appropriately. I don’t believe this will have a negative impact on the Rockies’ reputation, but this is a great reminder for all brands to gather the facts first.”