San Francisco Giants pitcher Derek Holland has landed in hot water after making offensive jokes at an Asian staffer during an interview on Wednesday.
Speaking to Chris Rose and Kevin Millar of MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk,” Holland introduced Haro Ogawa, his team’s massage therapist, as his “hype man.”
Holland, reportedly known for being funny, neither used Ogawa’s name nor his work throughout the interview.
Using a mock Asian accent, he yelled “konnichiwa” and bowed at Ogawa to show “much respect.”
Holland’s entire joke — to the hosts’ enjoyment — centered on the fact that Ogawa is Asian. Interestingly, MLB cut the said parts in the version posted on its official site.
Nonetheless, clips of the interview have since gone viral, with many slamming Holland’s outdated and racist sense of humor.
In a statement to Deadspin, Giants spokesperson Matt Chisholm said that it does not condone such behavior and relayed Holland’s apology “if it offended anyone.”
“The Giants organization does not condone that type of behavior in any way. We spoke to Derek regarding his interview yesterday and he completely understands the severity of the situation and he apologizes if it offended anyone. That was not his intention at all, but he’s taking full responsibility for it. It was not his intention at all to embarrass Haro.”
Chisholm added that Holland and Ogawa are friends.
“If you know Haro, these guys are friends in the clubhouse. They both, you know, poke fun at one another. But, by no means at all is he trying to get across that he’s racist.”
The following day, Holland issued his own apology.
“I want to make sure it’s clear that was all on me. I don’t want anyone else being directed with MLB Network or ‘Intentional Talk,’ I think this is directly on me.
“Me and Haro were just doing a bit, we didn’t expect it to turn out the way that it did. Obviously it was not meant to be that way so I want to make sure that anybody, or I shouldn’t say anybody, everybody for what I’ve done and what I’ve caused.
“Now it’s become a distraction to the team. I don’t want that. I don’t want to have offended anybody.”
Holland added that he also apologized to Ogawa.
“I want to make sure everybody understands this is all on me and I apologize for what I have done. Whatever I have to do to take care of the situation, I will do it.”
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