MLB investigates as baseball star Hector Neris denies using homophobic slur
Major League Baseball (MLB) has confirmed that investigations are underway after Houston Astros player Hector Neris was accused of shouting a homophobic slur at opponent Julio Rodríguez.
An altercation broke out on the field at T-Mobile Park on Wednesday night (27 September) when Neris struck out Seattle Mariners star outfielder Rodríguez during the sixth inning.
Footage of the game sees Neris charge toward Rodríguez after the pitch and seemingly shout some harsh words at him.
Members of both teams crowded onto the diamond to keep the two players apart and Neris was eventually escorted off the field.
Rodríguez has since commented on the incident, insisting he has no idea why Neris decided to launch into a tirade, but refused to share what words were exchanged.
“I’m going to keep the comments [private],” Rodríguez said, per The Athletic.
“But I feel like you’ve always got to give respect. He’s someone I had a lot of respect for.”
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He continued that, despite the history of bad blood between the Mariners and the Astros, he and Neris had been friends for years, and felt he “deserved a little more respect.”
The player also made it clear that he doesn’t plan on speaking to Neris again, despite Neris’ attempts to reach out.
However, Mariners third baseman Eugenio Suárez claims that he heard what was exchanged between the two players, and has told multiple news outlets that Neris shouted a homophobic slur at Rodíguez.
“From the beginning, I thought it was a joke because before today they [had] a really good relationship,” Suárez told the press after the game.
“And then he started talking bad words in Spanish. He started doing something that is not good for people who speak Spanish and understand. I was in the on-deck circle and I heard that. That p***ed me off.”
Suárez hasn’t given specifics and declined to comment further on the issue ahead of the Mariners v Rangers game on Thursday (28 September).
Neris has since issued a public apology to Rodríguez, and insisted that reports that he used a homophobic slur were “simply incorrect.”
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Julio as a person and a player,” Neris’ statement read.
“He is a great player and a better person and deserves to be recognized that way.
“Julio has been a friend dating back to 2020, when we spent the pandemic working out together.
“We have had a friendly competition when one beats the other on the field, something that is customary in the Dominican Republic and especially among friends.
“ My intent in going towards Julio was to get his attention as part of the friendly ongoing banter that we have had over the years.”
He continued: “I recognize that last night I should not have gone towards him like I did.
“I did not mean to disrespect him, his family or the Mariners. I do understand how my actions could be interpreted that way.
“Last, there were reports that I used a homophobic slur, which are simply incorrect. That did not happen and any suggestion to the contrary is wrong.
“My mother raised me to love and respect people for who they are and that is how I live my life.”
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