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Detroit Tigers Coach Fired for Alleged Racial Slur Plans Lawsuit, But One Key Detail Calls the Case into Question


The story about the firing of the Detroit Tigers pitching coach who was accused of directing a racial epithet at an African-American clubhouse employee has changed. Chris Bosio is swearing on his parents’ graves that when he said the words “spider monkey” he was referring to a player with that nickname, not the employee standing within earshot.

Bosio said Friday that he’s considering his legal options as a result of the firing, but it’s not helpful at all that the player he said he was referring to had no recollection of ever being called “spider monkey.” Bosio described himself as “crushed,” “in shock,” and planning to hire an attorney to see if there’s a wrongful termination case here.

He told USA Today that the unnamed employee mistakenly believed he was referring to him as a “spider monkey.” He said he was actually referring to pitcher Daniel Stumpf by his nickname.

“Someone in our coaches’ room asked me [Monday afternoon] about Stumpf. 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,” he said. “The [attendant] thought we were talking about him. He got all upset. He assumed we were talking about him. I said, ‘No, no, no. We’re talking about Stumpf.’”

“And that was it. I swear on my mom and dad’s graves, there was nothing else to it,” he added.

Interestingly, Stumpf said he doesn’t recall ever being called “spider monkey” by anyone. “Spider Monkey is not a nickname I have been called or I’m familiar with,” he told the Detroit Free Press.

The Athletic also said it was told by team sources Bosio called the attendant a “monkey.” They said Bosio gestured at the attendant saying “like this monkey here” during conversation.

Tigers general manager Al Avila said Bosio was fired for “insensitive comments” in violation of his contract.

“The organization holds all of our personnel to the highest standards of personal conduct both on and off the field,” he said. “We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior.”

[Image via WXYZ screengrab]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.