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Holland apologizes for racist MLB Network skit

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San Francisco Giants pitcher Derek Holland (45) looks into the dugout after giving up a solo home run to Colorado Rockies first baseman Ian Desmond (20) in the second inning as the Colorado Rockies face the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, June 26, 2018.

Derek Holland apologized for his behavior on a recent episode of MLB Network’s Intentional Talk with Kevin Millar and Chris Rose.

In his appearance, while the Giants were in New York earlier this week, he engaged in a skit of sorts with Giants massage therapist Haro Ogawa in which he appeared to use Ogawa as a cultural prop.

Holland repeatedly referred to the massage therapist as his “hype man” and acted out an overtly racist Asian caricature which included mimicking a cringeworthy Asian accent and repeatedly bowing to Ogawa. 

Back in the Bay Area Friday, Holland issued his apology:  

“I would like to start by apologizing for the situation that took place not too long ago in New York with Haro, our massage therapist. Obviously I’m not trying to offend anybody, it was not meant to come out the way that it did. I apologize for anyone that I have affected with this or offended as well. This was not the intention we were just trying to have fun, Haro and I were goofing off, obviously I crossed the line and went too far.”

Holland appeared genuine, but he used a lot of passive language whilst emphatically insisting that all the blame lay squarely on him.

He repeatedly referred to the incident as “the situation” instead of, for instance, “my actions and behavior that caused harm,” which might have come off as a more sincere attempt at taking responsibility. Perhaps using the word “situation” over and over was more a verbal tic in dealing with a difficult situation because the passive lack of responsibility-taking contrasted strongly with statements like:

“I’ve now caused a distraction to this team, my teammates, the organization [and] the city of San Francisco. … I’m truly sorry, I want all the blame to be pointed at me, though. This should not be toward San Francisco or Intentional Talk. … I want all the responsibilities for this, whatever [discipline] comes down, it’s gonna be on me, this is for me. And again, I am truly sorry for everything that I’ve caused with this situation I wanna do everything I can to help resolve this.”

Manager Bruce Bochy said he believes strongly this is a one-time mistake and not a sign of any racism present in Holland’s makeup:

“He realizes the mistake he made and there was nothing intentional about it, that’s the unfortunate part about it. He’ll learn from it and we move on. He apologized, that’s all he can do. And he knows down in his heart and we know the same that there was nothing intentional about it.”

When asked if he understood why his bit might have been offensive to Asian-Americans Holland said:

“It may be funny to us, or anybody that got a laugh out of that, [but] it’s not funny to everybody else and the thing is we’re not trying to offend anybody and that is what happened so with that being said we shouldn’t have done that to begin with. We screwed up the whole situation by doing that — Our entertainment was somebody else’s humiliation.”

He also noted that Ogawa agreed to appear with him but he admitted that he put Ogawa in a difficult situation by asking him to join him. 

Up Next

The Giants open a three game series against the Rangers Friday that spans Players Weekend. Friday’s starters include Dereck Rodríguez (6-1, 2.25 ERA) in his first game back since 10 days on the disabled list with a grade 1 hamstring strain, facing Texas righty Drew Hutchison (2-2, 5.71 ERA) late of Philly, who the Rangers transformed from a reliever to a starter beginning August 5, with mixed results.

Notes

According to Bochy, Jeff Samardzija is being examined by team doctors Friday as a result of discomfort in his right shoulder he’s experienced after his recent rehab appearance.


Julie Parker is SFBay’s San Francisco Giants beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @InsideThePark3r on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Giants baseball.

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