Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Jared Hughes thought the issue of his alleged racial remark had been resolved when he had a telephone conversation with Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, but he felt a need to defend himself after hearing Phillips repeat his accusation on television, according to CBSSports.com.
"I didn't say those things,'' Hughes told CBSSports.com. "That's not who I am. That's not how I was raised. I didn't say anything like that.''
According to the report, the Pirates TV broadcast from Monday night's game seems to support Hughes' claim.
Although Hughes swore at Phillips as Phillips tossed the ball toward him after being hit by a Hughes pitch, the tape does not appear to show Hughes used the word "boy,'' as Phillips claims.
Hughes was under the impression the issue was closed when he spoke to Phillips on Andrew McCutchen's cell phone the next day.
"I came out of that conversation thinking we both wanted not to harp on things,'' Hughes told CBSSports.com.
But when asked about the incident during a television interview Tuesday night, Phillips again claimed Hughes made a racial comment.
"It was shocking,'' Hughes said. "It definitely has been tough. I've got friends and family calling to offer me support.''
Hughes said he told Phillips during their phone conversation that he would not apologize for saying "boy," because he claims he didn't say it. He said he did tell Phillips he was sorry if he misinterpreted what he said. Hughes figures Phillips must have misunderstood the apology.
"There is no way I would say anything like that,'' he said. "I have too much respect for Brandon as a man.''
Hughes says he is concerned about how Phillips' accusations might affect other people's opinion of him, but he still respects Phillips.
"Honestly, I still have a ton of respect for Brandon Phillips,'' Hughes said. "I think he's a good man, and a good ballplayer.''