Daisuke Matsuzaka, the New York Mets’ right-hander, was thrown into the spotlight after his translator became the target of racial slur made by pitching coach Dan Warthen.
Matsuzaka came to the defense of Warthen who was taken to task for making derogatory remarks towards his translator Japanese-American Jeff Cutler, calling him a “Chinaman.”
Following the inappropriate exchange in the Mets locker room, Warthen publicly apologized for the derogatory remark about Asians saying it was “a poor attempt at humor.”
“I apologize for the thoughtless remarks that I made yesterday in the clubhouse,” Warthen said in a statement. “They were a poor attempt at humor, but were wrong and inappropriate in any setting. I am very sorry.”
When asked about the incident, Matsuzaka seemed to let it pass.
“Everyone makes mistakes, and Dan’s already commented on it,” as he explained through Cutler. “I don’t want to dig deeper or try to add to it.”
Wall Street Journal reporter Stu Woo, who was in the team’s locker room and overheard the exchange, said Warthen came up to Cutler to personally apologize.
“I’m sorry I called you a ‘Chinaman’ yesterday,” Warthen reportedly told Cutler.
“I didn’t mean to insinuate—I know you’re not Chinese,” Warthen said. “I thought it was a pretty good joke, though,” to which Cutler replied with a small laugh.
Woo, of Chinese descent, had initially raised the issue after taking offense over the racial slur directed at Cutler.
“As a 27-year-old Chinese American who grew up in San Francisco, I couldn’t remember the last time I heard the term ‘Chinaman,’ a derogatory word originally given to Chinese immigrants by white Americans in the 19th century,” Woo said in his column.
“I might have heard it used on the grade-school playground, but never before in dozens of NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball locker rooms I’ve been to as a sports reporter.”
The Mets formally addressed the incident after Woo’s column was published.
“I apologize for the insensitive remarks made by one of our staff members. The remarks were offensive and inappropriate and the organization is very sorry,” General manager Sandy Alderson said in a statement.
By Maesie Bertumen