ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd has been taken off the air following his comments on Thursday in which he suggested Major League Baseball is not "too complex" or a "thinking-man's game" because many of the players come from the Dominican Republic.
The national sports personality's controversial remarks on Thursday, followed by his apparently lackluster apology on Friday, pushed ESPN to let go of Cowherd effective immediately.
"Colin Cowherd’s comments over the past two days do not reflect the values of ESPN or our employees," an ESPN statement read. "Colin will no longer appear on ESPN."
Cowherd was on his way out of ESPN anyway after both had mutually agreed to split last week following more than a decade together. He signed a new deal with Fox Sports. The early boot comes after Cowherd suggested baseball is not a complex sport because the sport's athletes and coaches are largely uneducated.
"The game is too complex? I've never bought into that 'baseball is too complex.' Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic," Cowherd said on his national radio show on Thursday. "The Dominican Republic has not been known in my lifetime as having world-class academic abilities. A lot of those kids come from rough backgrounds and have not had opportunities academically that other kids from other countries have. Baseball is like any sport. It's mostly instincts."
Cowherd was saying he believed a general manager for an MLB team had the ability to handle the responsibilities of managing a team from the dugout, like the Miami Marlins' Dan Jennings has been doing for the last two months, and he went on to say that football is more complex than baseball.
"A sportswriter who covers baseball could go up to Tony La Russa and make an argument and Tony would listen and it would seem reasonable," Cowherd went on to say. "There's not a single NFL writer in the country who could diagram a play for Bill Belicheck. You know, we get caught up in this whole 'thinking-man's game.' Is it the same family? Most people could do it. It's not being a concert pianist."
The comments did not sit well with Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista, one of the league's many star Dominican born ballplayers who tweeted on Thursday night.
Dear Mr. @ESPN_Colin before i rip you a new one i would like for you to explain what u meant to say about baseball and dominicans, please
— Jose Bautista (@JoeyBats19) July 23, 2015
On Friday morning's radio show, Cowherd apologized for choosing the Dominican Republic as an example but said he was just trying to make a point that baseball isn’t more complex to understand than a sport like football.
"I could have made the point without using one country,” Cowherd said. “And there are all sorts of smart people from the Dominican Republic. I could have said a third of baseball's talent is now being furnished from countries with economic hardships, therefore have educational hurdles. For the record, I used the Dominican Republic because they furnish baseball with so many great players. But they do rank 122nd out of 144 countries in primary education."
He said he felt bad about his choice of words.
"Nobody says everybody is anything. I understand when you mention a specific country they get offended,” he said. “I get it, I do. And for that I feel bad."
He went on to say, "Was I clunky? Perhaps."
The radio host said his comments were taken out of context. He reiterated that he wasn’t doubling down or digging in on the issue, but he was simply going off data in front of him that proves you don’t have “to be Stephen Hawking to understand baseball.” He mentioned that only 4 percent of managers and ballplayers in MLB have a college degree and he referenced world reports that highlighted the Dominican Republic’s education problems, including a 50 percent drop-out rate.
“I don't think I'm digging in, I'm not doing a [Donald] Trump and doubling down but I think that sometimes I bring up stuff that makes people cringe,” Cowherd said. “I'm not saying that there's not intelligent, educated people from the Dominican Republic. I cringe at the data, too. Do you understand how lucky we are in America?”
A source close to the Major League Players Association tells Fox News Latino the union finds Cowherd's comments offensive and unprofessional. The player's union released a statement saying that Cowherd's comment was "ignorant."
"As a veteran of fifteen MLB seasons, I can assure you that our sport is infinitely more complex than some in the media would have you believe. To suggest otherwise is ignorant, and to make an ignorant point by denigrating the intelligence of our Dominican members was not “clunky” -- it was offensive," said, MLBPA Executive Director, Tony Clark. "These recent comments are particularly disappointing when viewed against the backdrop of the important work being done to celebrate and improve the cultural diversity of our game. Baseball's partners and stakeholders should help such efforts, not undermine them."
Fox Sports has not responded to requests for a comment.