DENVER – The Colorado Rockies say a fan suspected of repeatedly yelling a racial slur at Florida outfielder Lewis Brinson was actually yelling at “Dinger,” the club’s purple spotted dinosaur mascot.
The team said Monday that fans sitting nearby contacted the club in defense of the fan after it issued a statement saying it was disgusted by the epithets thrown at Brinson as he was up in the ninth inning of Colorado’s 13-8 win. on Sunday.
The club then got in touch with the fan, who explained that it was just a huge misunderstanding and that he was just trying to get the attention of Dinger, who was two sections away.
The Rockies did not identify the fan.
The man’s screams were picked up by both teams’ broadcasts, although the Bally Sports Florida broadcast was clearer than Colorado’s because Rockies announcer Drew Goodman was speaking at the time.
No one on the field, including Brinson, reacted to the screams.
After the game, Marlins spokesman Jason Latimer said the team was aware of the clip.
“Neither Lewis, nor any other Marlins on the field or on the bench, heard what was yelled at,” he said in a text message to The Associated Press. “We brought the matter to the attention of the Rockies. I would have to give in to them how the matter is being handled.”
The Rockies condemned the alleged conduct in a statement issued Sunday night.
“The Colorado Rockies are disgusted by a fan’s racial slur directed at Lewis Brinson of the Marlins during the ninth inning of today’s game,” the team said. “Although the subject was not identified before the end of the game, the Rockies are still investigating this incident.
“The Rockies have zero tolerance for any form of racism or discrimination, and any fan who uses derogatory language of any kind will be kicked out of Coors Field.”
Fans had started filling the stadium’s lower deck in the last few innings, closing in for a post-game concert that was part of the Faith Day celebration.
Team officials were unable to question ushers in the area where the fan yelled until after the concert ended about an hour later.
Brinson had two hits and scored twice, and walked in the ninth inning. Brinson, 27, is in his fifth season in the majors.
After the game, the Marlins flew to San Diego, where they begin a series Monday night.
The Rockies do not plan to make any changes to the mascot’s name.