John Rocker Statement
Statement made Thursday by Atlanta Brave reliever John Rocker before the game against the New York Mets:
First of all, I would like to say that I am happy to be back in New York, believe it or not. I’ve been involved in some great games and always seem to pitch well here.
Unfortunately, the situation has continued to escalate about my presumed hatred for the people of New York. The comments I made over six months ago offended many people. I am fully aware of this, and for that I sincerely apologize.
This situation, however, has become a distraction to many of my teammates. Unfortunately, many members of the media have overestimated my significance. I am merely a baseball player, guys, and in the great scheme of things, my thoughts, opinions and attitudes are of little importance.
In many cases, attempts have been made to make this situation bigger than the game itself, and in every realm of sports, nothing is the bigger than the game. Not the players who play it, not the fans who watch it and not the people who write about it.
At times, these circumstances have overshadowed a great year being had by the Atlanta Braves as well as many of its players. There is an exciting season going on, and it’s time that that received the media’s full attention.
I have apologized and have felt badly for anyone who took my comments personally. My comments weren’t made with intentions of malice. However, many people perceived these comments to be malicious, and for this, I apologize once again.
I also feel that the people of New York as well as the media have misjudged me. I am not the evil person that has been portrayed. And when given the opportunity, many people who actually know me have spoken out strongly on my behalf.
I also am fully aware that the overwhelming majority of the people in this city are extremely charismatic and full of personality, although a bit spirited at times, but, you know, that doesn’t make them bad people. I have always been completely aware of this.
Now, I will put this situation behind me. So please, allow the fans, the Atlanta Braves, major league baseball and the city of New York to move ahead. I think we would all appreciate that. From here forward, I will discuss nothing but baseball. I would appreciate if you all respect that request and asked nothing but baseball questions.