Major League Baseball finds San Diego Gay Men's Chorus mistake was 'human error'

Major League Baseball has completed its investigation into Saturday's national anthem mix-up involving the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus and has reaffirmed the Padres' findings that it was caused by human error, according to a statement released Thursday.

The investigation was announced early this week, after the choir's performance was drowned out by a recording of a woman singing the national anthem prior to a home game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The incident generated outrage, partly because the chorus was singing during "Out at the Park," a special LGBT pride event at Petco Park. Members of the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus accused the Padres of homophobia and called for an investigation by the team as well as Major League Baseball.

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In Thursday's statement, Major League Baseball said its department of investigations had conducted a dozen interviews into the matter and concluded the following:

"The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus has performed the Star-Spangled Banner multiple times before a Padres game; that Saturday’s regrettable situation was a product of human error; that the situation was exacerbated by the fact that the lead entertainment supervisor was involved in a car accident on Friday night and thus was unable to work on Saturday and handle his typical responsibilities; that employees involved in the matter were handling new duties with which they were insufficiently familiar; and that the employees involved had no malicious intentions and, in fact, universally relayed contrition for how the incident unfolded and the adverse impression that it created."

Shortly after the announcement, Padres President and CEO Mike Dee tweeted that the Padres have reinstated DJ ArtForm, the "third-party contractor" who was terminated after the incident. 

"Based on MLB's findings, as well as the support of the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus, DJ Art Romero (a.k.a. DJ ArtForm) has accepted our invitation to continue to provide services for the team, in a role to be determined," Dee said in a statement.

"Most importantly, we appreciate the collaboration we have had this week with the LGBT community, and once again apologize for what took place during the performance of the national anthem on Saturday night.”

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Both the Padres and Men’s Choir on Thursday thanked the league for its investigation.

On its Facebook page, the Men’s Choir wrote that it had "every confidence" in MLB's conclusion and that the organization "will use this experience to further reinforce its policies of LGBT inclusion and acceptance both on and off the playing field."

"It is our sincere hope that out of this incident comes good — and that’s to continue our national conversation about professional sports, professional athletes and the LGBT community," the choir said.

Kenney writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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