San Diego Padres, Gay Choir at Odds over Botched Anthem

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In a tremendous mixup last night, the San Diego Padres invited a gay choir to sing the national anthem, then played a recording of the anthem sung by a woman, as the choir stood looking around for somebody to do something.

The members of the choir were heckled, with some fans shouting they sang like women. And you can understand how somebody who wasn’t paying much attention could think that.

Then again, who heckles a choir?

Well, bigots, probably. The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus thinks it’s awfully bloody likely the heckling was born of homophobia, and it would be pretty difficult to argue against that. But the SDGMC is taking it a step further, and suggesting this incident be investigated as a hate crime.

With this as background, we call on the San Diego Padres and Major League Baseball to immediately launch a full and transparent investigation into the incident to determine if someone or some people intentionally engaged in anti-gay discrimination or a hate crime by playing a female’s voice to represent a group of gay men with the purpose of denigrating and/or ridiculing gay men.

The trouble with that is identifying the crime. A hateful act in and of itself is not a crime. A crime committed for hateful and biased reasons is a hate crime, but without an underlying criminal act, the term has no legal meaning. I haven’t checked the books, but I’m betting there is no city ordinance about humiliating a choir.

Rather, a public apology seems in order. The Padres offered one:

This evening, during the pregame ceremony, a mistake was made in the Petco Park control room that prevented the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus from performing the National Anthem as scheduled. We apologize to anyone in the ballpark who this may have offended, and have reached out to the Chorus to express our deep regret for the error.

The Chorus didn’t think much of that apology.

… we are very disappointed with the San Diego Padres dismissively brief two sentence statement at 9:38 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, 2016, whcih did not appropriately address the gravity of the situation or pay due to the 100 volunteers who took to the field in celebration and were led off in humiliation.

The choir’s full statement:

So, yeah, the Padres are in a little hot water.