MLB pitcher Derek Holland found himself the center of controversy this week after what appeared to be an attempt at humor was instead taken by many as extremely offensive.
Holland, who plays for the San Francisco Giants, appeared on MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk” on Wednesday. During the brief interview, Holland stood next to the team’s massage therapist, a Japanese man named Haro Ogawa — who he introduced as his “hype man” — and proceeded to use a mock Asian accent while bowing multiple times, Deadspin reports. Hosts Kevin Millar and Chris Rose did not seem too bothered by Holland’s shtick, with Millar even yelling “Konnichiwa!” at one point.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Holland addressed the incident and said he’d apologized to Ogawa as well as his teammate Taira Uematsu, who is also Japanese, NBC Sports reports. He described what he and Ogawa were doing as a “bit” that went “too far.”
“I want to be held accountable for anything that I’ve done and caused with all of this,” he said. “It’s embarrassing what I did. I was just trying to have some fun. Haro and I entertained trying to take it to a different level and make the interview more exciting, and I obviously crossed the line with that.”
The San Francisco Giants addressed the controversy in a statement to Deadspin.
“The Giants organization does not condone that type of behavior in any way,” said team spokesperson Matt Chisholm. “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.”
[Photo: Derek Holland of the San Francisco Giants poses during Photo Day on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Arizona. By Robert Binder/MLB Photos via Getty Images]