(This article was published in 2002)
From GLAAD Director of Communications John Sonego
When John Rocker is quoted as telling a group of gay and transgender people, 'I hope you die of AIDS, I hope you cease to exist,' his message and his intent are clear: he's targeting gay people with vicious messages of hate and bigotry.
"This isn't an isolated incident; it's the latest in a long history of Rocker's racist and homophobic remarks. And Rangers General Manager John Hart's claim that Rocker 'acted appropriately' would be laughable if it didn't indicate that anti-gay abuse is still acceptable in major league baseball. The Texas Rangers and Major League officials have an obligation to hold their players, managers and teams accountable for actions like these that disgrace the profession.
"The day after the incident, the Associated Press reported Rocker had released a 'written apology' for his actions. The AP should take a second look at what Rocker wrote; it's nothing of the sort. It's an attempt to deflect responsibility by blaming the people he attacked.
"Today's Reuters story led with Rocker's claim he was provoked into his homophobic epithets, despite witness reports to the contrary. People shouldn't be misled by these reports. Sports media, including the Associated Press and Reuters, should investigate the circumstances thoroughly and report accurately on the nature and context of Rocker's epithets, and not simply serve as agreeable conduits for his and his manager's feeble excuses for unconscionable behavior.
"Rocker's made homophobic and racist remarks in Atlanta, Cleveland, and now Dallas. The rule in baseball is three strikes and you're out. It's time to see that rule applied."
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of individuals and events in all media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.