TRENTON, N.J. – A minor league baseball team offered its fired announcer and departed scoreboard worker their jobs back Thursday following a plea by Gov. James E. McGreevey (search) for the team to overlook their jokes about his sexuality.
The governor issued a statement early in the day, asking the Atlantic City Surf (search) to forgive the workers for what he called "an unfortunate lapse in judgment."
The team fired announcer Greg Maiuro (search) on Monday because he dedicated a between-innings rendition of the song "YMCA" to McGreevey during a game on Aug. 17. The 1970s hit song by the Village People is widely considered a gay anthem.
The night after Maiuro's public address announcement, scoreboard operator Marco Cerino posted the message, "Sponsored by Gov. Jim McGreevey," on the scoreboard when the same song was played. Cerino resigned.
McGreevey urged the team to accept an apology and reinstate Maiuro "so we can move beyond this incident and get back to enjoying America's favorite pastime."
"I thank the owners of the Atlantic City Surf for their sensitivity and appreciate their desire to separate politics from baseball," the governor said.
McGreevey's statement Thursday was his first publicly made, albeit indirect, reference to the substance of his stunning announcement earlier this month that he is gay and had an affair with a man. The governor plans to resign Nov. 15.
By the early afternoon, the team had issued a release saying Maiuro had been rehired after writing the Surf a letter "acknowledging his remarks were inappropriate" and asking for his job back.
"I am a firm believer in second chances," said Frank Boulton, the Surf's principal owner. The team plays in the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.
Maiuro did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. The team said Cerino, who is returning to college soon, was considering asking for his position back.
While McGreevey's statement did not mention Cerino, spokesman Micah Rasmussen said the statement "speaks to entire episode."
The governor "saw a situation that he was compelled to speak out about," Rasmussen said.