When San Francisco Giants pitcher Derek Holland went on MLB Network’s Intentional Talk with Kevin Millar and Chris Rose on Wednesday, he chose to conduct the interview with the team’s massage therapist Haro Ogawa at his side. Holland introduced Ogawa as his “hype man,” but never used Ogawa’s name or position throughout the interview. Then, Holland performed an Asian caricature so bad, John Hughes would’ve used it for Sixteen Candles.
The hosts seemed to love it, as they laughed throughout the bit. Millar even yelled “Konnichiwa!” at Ogawa without knowing the trainer’s command of the English language or his ethnicity:
Holland bowed at Ogawa, uttering “much respect.” This would’ve been offensive if he’d done it only once, but he did it three times. Though Ogawa, a native of Japan, was seemingly in on the whole charade, he was a prop for comic relief—just an ancillary part of Holland’s dehumanizing stunt. The entire joke driving the segment is that Ogawa is Asian. Curiously, when MLB.com published the interview on its site, it didn’t include these parts.
“The Giants organization does not condone that type of behavior in any way,” Giants spokesperson Matt Chisholm told Deadspin. “We spoke to Derek regarding his interview yesterday and he completely understands the severity of the situation and he apologizes if it offended anyone. That was not his intention at all, but he’s taking full responsibility for it. It was not his intention at all to embarrass Haro.”
Chisholm said that Holland and Ogawa are friends, and that Holland has been to Japan and “speaks a little bit of the language.” “If you know Haro, these guys are friends in the clubhouse,” Chisholm said. “They both, you know, poke fun at one another. But, by no means at all is he trying to get across that he’s racist.”
H/t Joon Lee