The San Diego Padres baseball team is offering a do-over to the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, and a meeting to formally apologize for this past weekend’s embarrassing incident at Petco Park, which the team awkwardly dubbed an “unintentional mistake:” the drowning out of the men’s live performance with a recording by a female singer.
The team had invited the chorus to sing the National Anthem to open the annual “Out at the Park” game Saturday evening, but instead of the strong voices of the 100 men assembled in center field, the 40,000 fans in attendance heard a recording of a woman singing the Star-Spangled Banner over the stadium speakers. And it was the whole song, from “Oh, say…” to “home of the brave.” The stunned singers, who had planned all along to accompany a recording of their own voices playing over Petco’s public address system, were then escorted off the field to homophobic taunts from fans, including “You sing like a girl.”
As news of the incident sparked anger among activists and made headlines around the world over the weekend, the team attempted to respond to critics with tweets about investigations, while the chorus itself posted its own account of the embarrassing incident on its Facebook page. The post brought to light other troubling details, such as pressure applied by the team to the volunteer chorus members to buy tickets just to take to the field to sing, whether or not they intended to stay for the game. None did, although the chorus did promote Saturday’s event on that same Facebook page, likely influencing fans and supporters to buy tickets.
The chorus called on the Padres, Major League Baseball, the San Diego city attorney’s office and the city’s Human Relations Commission to investigate.