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Rockies say fan wasn’t yelling racial slur at Marlins player

Aug. 9, 2021 Updated Mon., Aug. 9, 2021 at 4:36 p.m.

Miami Marlins' Lewis Brinson follows the flight of his double that drove in two runs off Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Freeland in the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021, in Denver.  (Associated Press)
Miami Marlins' Lewis Brinson follows the flight of his double that drove in two runs off Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Freeland in the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021, in Denver. (Associated Press)
By Arnie Stapleton Associated Press

DENVER — The Colorado Rockies said a fan suspected of repeatedly yelling a racial slur at Florida outfielder Lewis Brinson was actually hollering at “Dinger,” the club’s purple, polka-dotted dinosaur mascot.

“After a thorough investigation that included calls, emails and video clips from concerned fans, media and broadcast partners, the Colorado Rockies have concluded that the fan was indeed yelling for Rockies mascot Dinger in hopes of getting his attention for a photo, and there was never any racial slur that occurred,” the team said in a statement Monday.

“The Rockies remain dedicated to providing an inclusive environment for all fans, players and guests at Coors Field,” the team added, “and any fan using derogatory language of any kind will be ejected from Coors Field.”

The team said fans who were seated nearby contacted the club in defense of the fan after it put out a statement Sunday night saying it was disgusted by epithets hurled at Brinson when he was up in the ninth inning of Colorado’s 13-8 victory Sunday.

The club then contacted the fan, who explained it was just a big misunderstanding and that he was only trying to get the attention of Dinger, who was two sections over.

The Rockies did not identify the fan.

The man’s shouts were picked up by both teams’ broadcasts although the Bally Sports Florida broadcast was clearer than Colorado’s because Rockies broadcaster Drew Goodman was talking at the time.

Nobody on the field, including Brinson, reacted to the shouts.

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 in the dugout, heard what was shouted,” he said in a text message to The Associated Press. “We brought the matter to the attention of the Rockies. How the matter is being handled, I would have to defer to them.”

The Rockies condemned the suspected conduct in a statement released Sunday night.

“The Colorado Rockies are disgusted at the racial slur by a fan directed at the Marlins’ Lewis Brinson during the ninth inning of today’s game,” the team said in Sunday’s statement. “Although the subject was not identified prior to 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 using derogatory language of any kind will be ejected and banned from Coors Field.”

Fans had started to fill the lower deck of the stadium in the late innings, moving closer for a postgame concert that was part of a Faith Day celebration.

Team officials weren’t able to debrief ushers in the area where the fan shouted until after the concert ended about an hour later.

Brinson got two hits and scored twice, and drew a walk in the ninth inning. The 27-year-old Brinson is in his fifth season in the major leagues.

After the game, the Marlins flew to San Diego, where they start a series Monday night.

The Rockies don’t plan to make any changes to the mascot’s name.

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