In what might be the biggest single bit of publicity to impact the indie Golden League since the signings of Jose Canseco and Rickey Henderson, the 10-team league is accused of imposing a gag order on umpires after Edmonton skipper Brent Bowers’s homophobic abuse of one of their colleagues became publicly known. From the Sun’s Andrew Hanon :
Capitals manager Bowers was tossed from a road game against the Orange County Express on July 31, allegedly for repeatedly calling umpire Billy Van Raaphorst œa f…ing faggot after a questionable call.
According to Van Raaphorst™s official ejection report, obtained by the Sun, Bowers screamed profanities at him, made sexually explicit comments and at one point bent over and grabbed his own ankles.
Van Raaphorst, who is openly gay, claims Bowers yelled, œYou know what I heard? I heard you are a f…ing faggot. The rumour from several managers and people at the league is that you are a fag.
He says Bowers threatened him, screaming, œI ought to kick your ass, you faggot.
Sources say that when the league suspended Bowers for two games, other umpires were so outraged over the slap on the wrist that they refused to officiate GBL games.
By Friday, the official said, the league convinced the umpires to call off the boycott after promising to address their concerns. However, they were ordered not to talk to anyone about the incident or risk losing their jobs.
Prior to publication of Hanon’s report, the Capitals announced Saturday they had accepted Bowers’ resignation and planned to implement diversity training for all team staff.