The San Diego Padres apologized to the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus on Sunday after investigating an incident where a prerecording played over their scheduled national anthem appearance Saturday:  

After a thorough examination of the events that occurred during last night’s National Anthem, we have concluded our internal investigation and have found no evidence of malicious intent on the part of any individuals involved. Based both on the unintentional mistake that was made, as well as the failure to immediately intervene and correct the situation by those who had oversight, we have terminated our relationship with the third-party contractor who was responsible for the error, and taken disciplinary action against our employee who was responsible for the game production on Saturday.

The organization drew criticism Saturday when a prerecorded version of a woman singing the national anthem played over stadium speakers. No one in the game operations department corrected the error, so the prerecording continued as the men stood on the field.

“We once again sincerely apologize to members of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, their families and those who came out to support their Pride Night performance,” the Padres’ statement read. “The Padres organization is proud of our long-standing commitment to inclusion—within both our sport and our community. We deeply regret that a mistake on our part has called this into question, but accept full responsibility.”

MLB spokesman Pat Courtney told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that the league will investigate the incident to “determine whether there was intent on the part of the club.”

Members of the chorus said they were embarrassed by the situation and hoped it wasn’t done to be hurtful.

“We were just excited to be at a game and let the audience see us and hear us and let us know that we’re sports fans too, and we’re normal guys,” RC Haus, artistic director for the chorus, told Kirk Kenney and Deborah Sullivan Brennan of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “And then a woman sings over us, and it was mortifying.”

San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus executive director Bob Lehman was more critical, highlighting in a statement what he felt were slights by the Padres organization leading up to the game. Lehman said the team attempted to force chorus members to pay for their tickets rather than let them in for free. The Padres later rescinded the request, which “was not part of any previous discussion or written or verbal agreement and would have cost the small, community-based nonprofit thousands of dollars,” according to Lehman.

In reference to the prerecording playing, Lehman told Kenney and Brennan, “I really want to believe that it was an error. But the first thought was, ‘Did they do this on purpose?'”

The team has invited the chorus for a return performance. It’s unclear at this time if the chorus will accept.


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