Sports News

Toronto manager ignites baseball backlash with 'dresses' comment

TORONTO (Reuters) - The manager of the Toronto Blue Jays faced a backlash on Wednesday after saying players might have to “wear dresses” because umpires in Tuesday’s game enforced a new slide rule designed to take deliberate contact out of baseball.

Apr 4, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons (5) speaks to an umpire during the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. The Blue Jays defeated the Rays 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Complaining about a call that cost the Jays a win on Tuesday, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons implied a new rule that prohibits interference from a baserunner was an over-reaction that softens the game.

“Maybe we’ll come out and wear dresses tomorrow,” Gibbons told reporters after the Jays’ 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay. “Maybe that’s what everybody’s looking for.”

Reaction on social media was swift, with some saying the comment was sexist.

“Off-handed ‘like a girl’ comments perpetuate the idea that women and girls are not strong. And then all kids grow up believing that,” tweeted Toronto-based writer Anne T. Donohue.

Not everyone was critical of Gibbons.

“People are seriously annoyed about the John Gibbons ‘dresses’ comment?” tweeted Matthew Hogan (@MattNHLHogam), a digital media specialist. “It’s embarrassing how PC this world has become. #BlueJays”

But some said men who were defending Gibbons didn’t get the problem.

“Love all the men saying ‘I wasn’t offended by John Gibbons’ ‘dress’ comments. Duh. The slight wasn’t directed at you,” tweeted Julie DiCaro, a Chicago-based sports journalist.

A spokesman for the Blue Jays did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Andrea Hopkins and Amy Tennery; Editing by Frances Kerry