In the ongoing saga of the Detroit Tigers' firing of Chris Bosio, reliever Daniel Stumpf on Thursday night reportedly said he was unfamiliar with the term Bosio claims is at the center of the controversy.
In an interview with USA Today earlier Thursday, the 55-year-old Bosio vehemently defended himself, characterizing the incident that led to his Wednesday firing as a misunderstanding.
He said he was relieved of his duties after using the word "monkey" in a conversation he insists was not directed at an African American, but rather Stumpf, who is white. Bosio said a clubhouse attendant overheard the comment and apparently took offense,
"Someone in our coaches' room asked me [Monday afternoon] about Stumpf," Bosio told the outlet. "And I said, 'Oh, you mean, Spider Monkey.' That's his nickname. He's a skinny little white kid who makes all of these funny faces when he works out."
On Thursday night, Stumpf told the Detroit Free Press, "Spider Monkey is not a nickname I have been called or I'm familiar with." He then said he had no further comment on the issue.
Tigers general manager Al Avila also responded to Bosio's defense to USA Today, saying, "We know what we did and why we did it, and we'll see where it goes from there. The action we took was appropriate. There were things involved. But I can't comment any further."
"I'm crushed," Bosio told USA Today. "I'm absolutely crushed. I still can't believe it's gotten to this point. I'm in shock."
He added that he will hire an attorney for guidance on whether or not to file a wrongful termination suit against the team.
"I've got (to) protect myself some way, because this is damaging as hell to me," Bosio said. "I've got to fight for myself. Everyone knows this is not me. I didn't use any profanity. There was no vulgarity. The N-word wasn't used. No racial anything. It was a comment, and a nickname we used for a player."
Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire added Bosio to his staff prior this season, Gardenhire's first in charge in Detroit. The Tigers ranked 22nd in the majors in team ERA at the time of Bosio's firing.
Bosio spent 11 seasons in the majors as a pitcher, going 94-93 with a 3.69 ERA with Milwaukee and Seattle. His last season was 1996. His most successful run as a coach was with the Chicago Cubs, where he served as pitching coach from 2012-17, serving on the World Series-winning 2016 squad.
--Field Level Media