The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus prepares to sing at Petco Park. Image from chorus Twitter feed

An investigation into a mishap that prevented the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus from performing the national anthem at Saturday night’s Padres-Dodgers game found “no evidence of malicious intent,” but the team has terminated its relationship with the third-party contractor deemed responsible for the error.

A control room mistake during a pregame ceremony prevented the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus from performing the national anthem as scheduled. A recording of a woman singing the national anthem was played instead.

In a statement released Sunday night, the Padres said the team had ended its relationship with the third-party contractor responsible for the error and that disciplinary action had been taken against the employee responsible for game production.

“After a thorough examination of the events that occurred during last night’s national anthem, we have concluded our internal investigation and have found no evidence of malicious intent on the part of any individuals involved,” according to the Padres statement.

“Based both on the unintentional mistake that was made, as well as the failure to immediately intervene and correct the situation by those who had oversight, we have terminated our relationship with the third-party contractor who was responsible for the error, and taken disciplinary action against our employee who was responsible for the game production on Saturday.”

Chorus Executive Director Bob Lehman issued a lengthy statement on the group’s Facebook page and called for an investigation. He said “no attempt was made to stop the recording and start over. No announcement of apology was made to the singers or their friends and families in the stands. No attempt to correct the situation occurred other than to force the 100 men to stand in the spotlight of center field for the song’s duration and then be escorted off the field to the heckles of baseball fans shouting homophobic taunts including ‘you sing like a girl.”‘

“What should have been a night of joy and celebration at Petco Park last night, instead turned into a nightmare raising serious questions about homophobia within the San Diego Padres organization and its relationship with the LGBT community,” he said.

The Padres issued an apology Saturday night, and included a second in the statement Sunday.

“We once again sincerely apologize to the members of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, their families and those who came out to support their Pride Night performance,” according to the Padres statement. “The Padres organization is proud of our longstanding commitment to inclusion — within both our sport and our community. We deeply regret that a mistake on our part has called this into question, but accept full responsibility.”

— City News Service

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