Coaches Richardson, Shildt clear the air after confrontation

Apr 13, 2022, 2:11 AM | Updated: 2:13 pm
San Diego Padres third base coach Mike Shildt, back to camera, hugs San Francisco Giants first base...

San Diego Padres third base coach Mike Shildt, back to camera, hugs San Francisco Giants first base coach Antoan Richardson after they spoke at a news conference before a baseball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, April 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco Giants first base coach Antoan Richardson and San Diego Padres third base coach Mike Shildt hugged on the field before their game Wednesday, a day after Richardson was ejected following an incident that he said included Shildt making comments that had “undertones of racism.”

Richardson said Shildt had used an expletive and told Giants manager Gabe Kapler to control Richardson on Tuesday night. At the time, Richardson said he interpreted Shildt’s comment “as if I was to be controlled or a piece of property or enslaved.”

On Wednesday, the two men chatted on the field and shook hands before addressing the media regarding the exchange. They embraced after speaking to reporters.

“I don’t believe he’s a racist,” said Richardson, who is Black. “I think, though, to the important point, he’s recognizing that some of his words, our words, are powerful and they’re impactful. And we just want to bring awareness to a situation that I think is important for our community.”

Shildt, who is white, acknowledged he used inappropriate language and said he appreciated Richardson saying he was not a racist.

“I’m grateful for Antoan clearing that up,” Shildt said. “Clearly misinterpreted, and I think he knows this, my value as a human is to love people. That’s exactly what I represent. So I appreciate him clearing that up for myself and my family.

“I don’t know Antoan’s heritage. I can’t walk in his shoes. I can only have empathy and love, which I do have, and I’ve always had in my life,” he said.

Richardson told reporters Tuesday night that his ejection stemmed from an incident that began when Shildt approached the Giants dugout.

Richardson said he asked Shildt what he needed. The San Francisco coach said Shildt used an expletive and told Kapler to “control” Richardson. “At that point in time I went up to the top step and said, ‘Excuse me,’ because I couldn’t believe what I heard” and got ejected, Richardson said after Tuesday’s game.

Shildt said Wednesday that Padres players and coaches had been upset the Giants’ Steven Duggar stole second base in the second inning with San Francisco leading 10-1. When Shildt went to coach third base in the top of the third, he and Richardson exchanged words.

“There’s some emotions running high. We looked at each other and then I looked in the dugout to find a couple guys that, they really don’t need to be named, but guys I’ve had relationships with since they were younger or I managed before,” Shildt said.

“I was looking for some support to try to diffuse the situation. I couldn’t find them, and then we had words exchanged. I’m not going to get into who started it. We’re past that point. … And I could have handled it differently with my verbiage,” he said.

Shildt said he thinks something positive will come of the controversy.

“The reality is we handled this tough solution publicly as men, with solution in our heart without any animosity. And I think it’s a great example of how people can communicate together regardless of backgrounds or colors or situation,” he said.

After Richardson was ejected, Giants assistant coach Alyssa Nakken took over his spot at first base. Nakken made history as the first female coach on the field in a Major League Baseball regular-season game.

The Giants won 13-2.

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