Aaron Joins in Condemnation of Braves’ Rocker

From Associated Press

John Rocker on Thursday faced a fresh round of criticism, led by Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, despite the outspoken reliever’s apology for insensitive remarks against gays and minorities.

Aaron said he was “very sick and disgusted about the whole situation” and questioned how Rocker could continue in baseball.

“I have no place in my heart for people who feel that way,” the former slugger and current Atlanta Brave senior vice president told syndicated sports radio talk host Jay Mariotti.


About 15 activists protested outside Turner Field, urging the Braves to fire Rocker for the comments, which were published in this week’s Sports Illustrated.

“There may be some room for redemption, but not as an Atlanta Brave,” said Michael Langford, president of the United Youth-Adult Conference. “We encourage him to enter his resignation right now and go into an early retirement.”

Rocker told Sports Illustrated he would never play for a New York team because he didn’t want to ride a subway train “next to some queer with AIDS.” He also bashed immigrants, saying, “I’m not a very big fan of foreigners. . . . How the hell did they get in this country?”

Rocker apologized in a written statement Wednesday, saying he was carried away by his “competitive zeal” against New York Met fans. He said he is not a racist and the comments do not reflect his true feelings.

Commissioner Bud Selig called Rocker’s remarks “inappropriate and offensive.” He said baseball is reviewing the matter and would take “appropriate action.”

Former Cincinnati Red owner Marge Schott was suspended from baseball for the 1993 season after her use of racial and ethnic slurs.


Rocker’s contrition was not enough to satisfy his critics. The civic groups and a member of the Atlanta City Council, Derrick Boazman, delivered a letter to Brave owner Ted Turner and General Manager John Schuerholz demanding Rocker’s immediate firing.