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Ng Is Victim of Racial Taunts

Former Dodger and Angel pitcher Bill Singer apologizes for remarks directed at the Dodgers' assistant GM during meetings in Phoenix.

November 15, 2003|Jason Reid | Times Staff Writer

PHOENIX — New York Met official Bill Singer, a former All-Star pitcher with the Dodgers and Angels, directed racially insensitive remarks at Dodger executive Kim Ng in deriding her Chinese heritage this week, baseball officials who witnessed the incident said Friday.

Singer, hired last week as a special assistant to Met General Manager Jim Duquette, confronted Ng, a Dodger vice president and assistant general manager, late Tuesday night at the general manager meetings here.

According to witnesses, Singer approached Ng in the bar of the hotel where the meetings occurred. After asking Ng, the highest-ranking Asian American in the major leagues, questions about her background in a sarcastic tone, Singer began speaking nonsensically in mock Chinese before eventually leaving.

Although he did not confirm details, Singer expressed remorse for his actions in a statement provided by the Mets.

"I'm embarrassed by what I said when I met Ms. Ng on Tuesday evening," the statement read. "My comments were totally inappropriate and I'm truly sorry. I have apologized to her and hope that she will forgive me."

Ng declined to discuss the events of that evening, acknowledging only "there was a situation that occurred. I have talked to Jim Duquette about it, and that's all I'm going to comment on."

The Dodgers and Mets also commented Friday on the embarrassing situation.

"His conduct was inexcusable and extremely disappointing," said Dodger General Manager Dan Evans, Ng's longtime friend and mentor.

"Kim handled the entire situation in a professional manner, and we addressed the matter with the New York Mets the next day. I would prefer to keep that discussion with the Mets confidential."

Duquette responded through Jay Horwitz, the Mets' vice president of media relations.

"We learned of the matter recently and have addressed it with Bill Singer directly," Duquette said in a statement read by Horwitz. "While I cannot share the particulars of that discussion with you, suffice it to say, his comments were entirely unacceptable and inconsistent with the values and standards of our organization. We have extended our apologies to Kim Ng and the Dodger organization."

Responding to a reporter's question about Singer's job status, Duquette said that Singer is still "employed by us at the moment. However, this entire matter continues to be under review by the organization. We are reserving judgment on this."

Because of his status as one of Duquette's top advisors, Singer was part of the Mets' contingent at the meetings that ended Friday.

Singer is one of two special assistants recently added to the club's reorganized front office. He formerly was a special assistant with Pittsburgh and held a top amateur scouting position with the Dodgers in 1998.

A 20-game winner with the Dodgers in 1969 and Angels in 1973, Singer tossed a no-hitter for the Dodgers against Philadelphia on July 20, 1970.

On Tuesday, Singer approached Ng as many baseball people were gathering in the hotel bar after attending an instructional league game. Deals are often discussed after hours in bars, and the hot-stove league talk continued that night as Singer began questioning Ng at about 11 p.m.

Two officials within earshot described the exchange.

Singer: What are you doing here?

Ng: I'm working.

Singer: What are you doing here?

Ng: I'm working. I'm the Dodger assistant general manager.

Singer: Where are you from?

Ng: I was born in Indiana and grew up in New York.

Singer: Where are you from?

Ng: My family's from China.

Singer: (Nonsensically mock Chinese). What country in China?

Evans, not present at the bar late Tuesday, was informed about the incident by many people early Wednesday morning. He was said to be furious about what had occurred, Dodger sources said, and clearly expressed his feelings to Duquette.

Ng is in her second season with the Dodgers. In its May 5 edition, Sports Illustrated ranked Ng as the "38th most influential minority in the sports world." Before joining the Dodgers, she served as a vice president and assistant general manager for the New York Yankees and worked for Major League Baseball.

Ng began her baseball career with the Chicago White Sox in 1990, working under Evans in baseball operations.

"As always, Kim acted professionally," Evans said. "It's an unfortunate situation."

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