Lewis Brinson Believes Colorado Rockies Fan Used N-word, Accepts Investigation Outcome

Miami Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson believes he was on the receiving end of a racial slur during a game against the Colorado Rockies, but acknowledged that claims the fan was trying to get the attention of the team's mascot instead were plausible.

Brinson, who is Black, stepped up to the plate at the top of the ninth inning of the Rockies' 13-8 win against the Marlins at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado.

After he faced the second pitch, the microphones of the Bally Sports Florida broadcast picked up what sounded like a fan using the N-word.

The gesture drew widespread condemnation from both teams and the MLB, before it emerged the fan was in fact shouting "Dinger" to get the attention of the Rockies' club mascot.

Shouting the N-word at a game? Where is the @Rockies statement on how they apprehended the racist and what they did to him? Where is @mlb’s investigation?

This is a private business and they are responsible for the conduct of their patrons.

— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) August 8, 2021

The Associated Press reported fans who were seated nearby the alleged offender contacted the Rockies to confirm he had in fact not uttered a racial slur. Earlier on Monday, grainy footage posted on Twitter appeared to show a Rockies fan in the first row just behind home plate seemingly gesticulating toward the mascot during Brinson's at-bat.

if you look closely he was trying to get the attention of “Dinger” the Rockies mascot. pic.twitter.com/kVB8RVByXW

— rhysta (@vrhysta) August 9, 2021

The Marlins outfielder, however, wasn't convinced by the explanation.

"So I watched the video at least 50 times in the past 15-16 hours," he told reporters on a video conference call ahead of the Marlins' road game against the San Diego Padres on Monday night.

"I watched it a lot, especially when I heard that he said Dinger instead of the N-word."

"I personally—this is again my personal opinion—I personally keep hearing the N-word. It's not that I want to hear it, I never want to hear it. Personally I've never been called that in person to my face on the baseball field, outside the baseball field, ever, so I don't know what my reaction would be if I got called that."

The fan hasn't been identified, but the Rockies said in a statement on Monday that the investigation had concluded he was trying to get the mascot's attention, rather than racially abuse Brinson.

"After a thorough investigation that included calls, emails and video clips from concerned fans, media and broadcast partners, the Colorado Rockies have concluded that the fan was indeed yelling for Rockies mascot Dinger in hopes of getting his attention for a photo, and there was never any racial slur that occurred," the team said in a statement.

"The Rockies remain dedicated to providing an inclusive environment for all fans, players and guests at Coors Field. [...] Any fan using derogatory language of any kind will be ejected from Coors Field."

Speaking to The Associated Press after the game on Sunday, Marlins spokesman Jason Latimer said "neither Lewis [Brinson], nor any other Marlins on the field or in the dugout, heard what was shouted."

Brinson Happy to Accept Explanation

Brinson confirmed he had not heard the alleged slur during the game and was happy to accept the explanation given by the Rockies.

"I haven't talked to the Rockies or that fan personally. If that's the case, then I'm sorry for any backlash or anything he's getting right now," he added.

In a statement released on Sunday, the Rockies had vehemently condemned the apparent slur and vowed to identify the guilty party.

"The Colorado Rockies are disgusted at the racial slur by a fan directed at the Marlins' Lewis Brinson during the ninth inning of today's game," the team said at that time.

"Although the subject was not identified prior to the end of the game, the Rockies are still investigating this incident.

"The Rockies have zero tolerance for any form of racism or discrimination, and any fan using derogatory language of any kind will be ejected and banned from Coors Field."

Lewis Brinson of the Miami Marlins
Lewis Brinson #25 of the Miami Marlins points skyward after hitting a two-run home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on August 9 in San Diego, California. Denis Poroy/Getty Images