Rogers apologizes for shoving cameramen, unsure about All-Star game

Updated: July 7, 2005, 4:12 AM ET
Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Kenny Rogers paused several times while reading from two handwritten pages. Even with the words in front of him, the Texas Rangers pitcher found them hard to say.

With a sense of contriteness, Rogers apologized Wednesday for last week's videotaped tirade against two TV cameramen that sent one of them to the hospital and got him suspended for 20 games.

"I feel compelled to come before you and express my deep regret for my actions," Rogers said. "This incident was completely out character, and I think without question that you know that it will never happen again."

The 40-year-old left-hander said he has not decided if he will go to next week's All-Star game.

Rogers was soft-spoken during his two-minute statement, his first public comments since his outburst a week earlier. Saying he was speaking against the advice of his lawyer, Rogers apologized to fans and the cameramen who have filed assault reports against him with police.

Commissioner Bud Selig suspended Rogers and fined him $50,000, the same amount of the bonus in his contract for being on the All-Star team.

The players' association appealed the penalty, allowing Rogers to keep playing until after a hearing and a decision. The hearing isn't expected until after the All-Star game.

The suspension was among the most severe imposed by the commissioner's office for on-field conduct in decades. Only the 30-day penalty given Cincinnati manager Pete Rose in 1988 for pushing umpire Dave Pallone was longer.

When he started to walk away from the podium after his apology, Rogers was asked if he planned to be at the All-Star game in Detroit.

"I have made no decisions on anything else," Rogers said. "This is the issue I wanted to address and nothing else, I don't want to confuse anything else."

Rogers wore jeans and a plain blue T-shirt, but nothing with a Rangers emblem. General manager John Hart said last week that the team won't have any more discussions with Rogers about a contract extension until after the season.

On June 29, Rogers lashed out at the cameramen as they filmed him walking to the field for pregame stretching. The episode led to KDFW cameraman Larry Rodriguez being treated at a hospital after the camera was ripped from his hands and thrown to the ground.

"I've been around this game for over 20 years. I prepare myself every day to control my emotions and act accordingly," Rogers said. "In this instance, I failed miserably."

Rogers offered no explanation for his actions, and declined to take questions.

Arlington police spokesman Christy Gilfour said Wednesday that Rodriguez and David Mammeli, a Fox Sports Southwest photographer who was first shoved but not injured, had filed assault reports.

No charges were filed, but Gilfour said Rogers would likely be issued a Class C citation for shoving Mammeli, a citation usually mailed to suspects and punishable by a fine of $500 or less.

Since Rodriguez was injured, that could be a Class A misdemeanor and remained under investigation, Gilfour said. That would be punishable by a fine up to $4,000, up to a year in jail, or both.

"I should have acted professionally, and I regret that was not the case," Rogers said. "I'm deeply disappointed and embarrassed in myself."

Rogers, scheduled to pitch Saturday at home against Toronto, said he had apologized personally to teammates and looked forward to doing the same with Rodriguez and Mammeli.

"Hopefully, this is another step to getting it done with for everybody's sake," Texas manager Buck Showalter said.

"We've talked about it. It's not an issue for us anymore. All we're about is playing baseball," shortstop Michael Young said. "We wish it would have never taken place, no one more so than Kenny I'm sure."

Rogers (9-4, 2.45 ERA) was selected to the All-Star game on the players' ballot. His second straight selection and third of his 17-year career came Sunday, the day he pitched 7 2-3 innings in a 2-1 loss at Seattle.

Boston's Terry Francona, a former Rangers coach who will manage the AL All-Star team, didn't speak to Rogers about his plans while in Texas this week.

"I said hello to him," Francona said. "Kenny's had a long week, he doesn't need me."

If Rogers decides against going to Detroit, Francona said he would take Red Sox right-hander Matt Clement (10-2) to the All-Star game.

Before giving up six runs and 10 hits in 3 1-3 innings at Los Angeles on June 22, Rogers won nine straight decisions, a career best, and was the AL ERA leader. It wasn't known until after he pulled out of a start June 28 against the Angels, the day before shoving the cameramen, that he had a broken bone in his non-pitching hand from punching a water cooler.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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