Hall of Famer Apologizes For Suggesting That Latino Player Must Speak English
Philadelphia Phillies Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt apologized for his comments about Phillies' outfielder Odubel Herrera's ability to lead a team, or lack thereof, primarily because of his unfamiliarity with English.
The comments come from a radio interview Schmidt participated in Tuesday. When asked by Philadelphia's SportsRadio 94WIP if the Phillies could build a winning team around the Venezuelan-born Herrera, Schmidt was skeptical.
"First of all, it's a language barrier. Because of that, I think he can't be a guy that would sort of sit in a circle with four, five American players and talk about the game," Schmidt said. "Or try and learn about the game or discuss the inner workings of the game. Or come over to a guy and say, 'Man, you gotta run that ball out.'"
Herrera speaking through a translator to the press respectfully disagreed: "I don't agree with his comments, but I respect him as a player."
Fox Sports MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal felt it fit the moment to make a small list of Latin players who've learned to speak English and be big playmakers simultaneously
Adrian Beltre. Carlos Beltran. Albert Pujols. Edinson Volquez. Robinson Cano. Jose Bautista. Miguel Cabrera. Sal Perez. Yadier Molina.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 6, 2017
Schmidt later clarified to reporters that he felt he had misspoke and that he called Herrera to make an apology on his behalf.
"It's been made known to me that my answer ... was disrespectful to Herrera and Latin players in general," the statement said. "I'm very sorry that this misrepresentation of my answer occurred and may have offended someone. I assure everyone I had no intention of that."
Signing center fielder Herrera to a $30.5 million five-year contract in December, the Phillies are hoping the 25-year-old can lead the team out of its six-year rut of frustrating and humiliating losses.