Report: Tigers pitching coach fired for directing racial slur at clubhouse attendant

Yahoo Sports
Former <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/teams/det" data-ylk="slk:Tigers">Tigers</a> pitching coach Chris Bosio was reportedly fired for directing a racial slur at a clubhouse attendant. (AP)
Former Tigers pitching coach Chris Bosio was reportedly fired for directing a racial slur at a clubhouse attendant. (AP)

More information has come out about the firing of former Detroit Tigers pitching coach Chris Bosio. According to a report from Ken Rosenthal and Katie Strang at The Athletic, Bosio was fired for directing a racial slur at an African-American clubhouse attendant. The firing came after an internal investigation, and after Bosio declined to apologize for his language.

The incident reportedly involved a racial slur

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Bosio, who had been the Tigers pitching coach for just the 2018 season, was fired on Wednesday for what general manager Al Avila described as using “racially insensitive language.” Four team sources spoke with Rosenthal and Strang on the condition of anonymity, and all four delivered the same version of the story: Bosio called an African-American clubhouse attendant a “monkey” during a postgame complaint session about a pitcher.

During this exchange, Bosio made a derogatory comment about one of the Tigers pitchers and then gestured toward the attendant before adding, “like this monkey here,” the sources said. The attendant pushed back at Bosio for the comment, and an additional team employee witnessed the exchange. Bosio was provided an opportunity to apologize to the attendant after his outburst but declined to do so, according to multiple sources.

This directly contradicts Bosio’s earlier explanation

Bosio defended himself in the media on Thursday, speaking to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. He recounted a different version of what went down in the clubhouse between him and the attendant, stating it was just a misunderstanding. According to Bosio, he wasn’t calling the attendant a monkey, but referring to pitcher Daniel Stumpf as “spider monkey” because of the faces he makes while warming up. Bosio said that the clubhouse attendant overheard the conversation, and thought that “monkey” was being directed at him.

The account from The Athletic’s sources directly contradicts Bosio’s explanation. Additionally, Daniel Stumpf told the Detroit Free Press that he had never been called “spider monkey” to his knowledge, and wasn’t familiar with the nickname in general.

The Tigers’ decision to fire Bosio was unanimous

According to The Athletic, the Tigers conducted an internal investigation, which was led by general manager Al Avila and the team’s general counsel and assistant general manager John Westhoff. The investigation took less than two days to conduct, and at the end everyone was in agreement about firing Chris Bosio.

The move was made swiftly and, according to one source, the decision to fire Bosio was unanimous, with essentially no dissent among team leadership.

In the Tigers’ initial statement about Bosio’s firing, the team said that Bosio’s “insensitive language” had violated both team policy and his “Uniform Employee Contract.” Bosio told USA Today that he’s hired a lawyer and is considering legal action against the team.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter at @lizroscher.

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