San Francisco Giants pitcher Derek Holland apologized Thursday after using a mock Asian accent during a TV interview alongside an Asian team staffer who appeared to be in on the "bit."
Holland and Giants massage therapist Haro Ogawa appeared on MLB Network’s "Intentional Talk" with Kevin Millar and Chris Rose while the team was visiting the New York Mets at Citi Field Wednesday, the East Bay Times reported.
Holland told the hosts Ogawa was his “hype man,” didn't introduce Ogawa by name, spoke with a mock Asian accent, and bowed several times. Ogawa — a native of Japan, according to Deadspin — appeared to play along as the pair used dialogue that seemed rehearsed for the camera.
Deadspin noted that the hosts "seemed to love it, as they laughed throughout the bit," adding that "Millar even yelled 'Konnichiwa!'" The outlet said when MLB.com published the interview on its site, "it didn’t include these parts."
What happened next?
Apologies were profuse after criticism mounted online, ESPN reported.
“The Giants organization does not condone that type of behavior in any way,” Giants spokesman Matt Chisholm told Deadspin. “We spoke to Derek regarding his interview yesterday, and he completely understands the severity of the situation, and he apologizes if it offended anyone. That was not his intention at all, but he’s taking full responsibility for it. It was not his intention at all to embarrass Haro.”
Holland offered a lengthy apology Thursday while speaking to reporters in the visiting clubhouse, adding that he apologized to Ogawa and Giants bullpen catcher Taira Uematsu, the East Bay Times reported:
I want to make sure it’s clear that was all on me. I don’t want anyone else being directed with MLB Network or Intentional Talk, I think this is directly on me. Me and Haro were just doing a bit, we didn’t expect it to turn out the way that it did. Obviously it was not meant to be that way so I want to make sure that anybody, or I shouldn’t say anybody, everybody for what I’ve done and what I’ve caused. Now it’s become a distraction to the team. I don’t want that. I don’t want to have offended anybody. I apologize for doing that and again, I’ve apologized to Haro and Taira, I’ve talked to them both. They understand we were just doing a bit but it was too far. With that, I want to make sure that everybody understands that those were not the intentions. If we’re going to blame anybody, it needs to be me. I want to be held accountable for everything that I’ve done and caused with all of this. It’s embarrassing what I did. I was just trying to have some fun. Haro and I just entertaining and just trying to take it to a different level and make the interview a little more exciting and I obviously crossed the line with that. Those were not the intentions and I apologize for what has come about of this and definitely directing negativity toward the organization, my teammates and obviously Haro and Taira. I want to make sure everybody understands this is all on me and I apologize for what I have done. Whatever I have to do to take care of the situation, I will do it.
Chisholm said Holland and Ogawa are "friends in the clubhouse," and that Holland has been to Japan and “speaks a little bit of the language,” Deadspin reported. Chisholm added to the outlet: “They both, you know, poke fun at one another. But by no means at all is he trying to get across that he’s racist.”
More video from Derek Holland
Holland's "bit" this week was far from the first time he's tried to entertain on camera.
A video from the 2011 World Series shows Holland, then playing for the Texas Rangers, doing what appeared to be an impersonation of manager Ron Washington, along with the voice of iconic Chicago Cubs announcer Harry Caray — perhaps owing a nod to Will Ferrell's SNL routine — and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger:
Holland also recorded a video with fellow pitcher Justin Grimm as the pair did their best to get in on the "Dumb and Dumber" movie franchise: