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Tigers pitching coach Chris Bosio was reportedly fired for using a racial slur

A report from The Athletic disputes Bosio’s claim of a misunderstanding.

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MLB: Spring Training-Tampa Bay Rays at Detroit Tigers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

New details have emerged regarding the Tigers’ firing of pitching coach Chris Bosio, and they dispute the veteran coach’s explanation of a simple misunderstanding.

Bosio was fired from the club Wednesday after violating Detroit’s personal conduct policy. On Friday, Ken Rosenthal and Katie Strang of The Athletic reported the offense was Bosio allegedly calling an African-American clubhouse assistant a “monkey.”

Bosio called the attendant, who is African-American, a “monkey,” according to four team sources. The remark was directed toward the young man, who was collecting towels from the coaches’ room at the time, during a post-game gripe session in which Bosio was lamenting about a pitcher.

During this exchange, Bosio made a derogatory comment about one of the Tigers pitchers and then gestured toward the attendant before adding, “like this monkey here,” the sources said. The attendant pushed back at Bosio for the comment, and an additional team employee witnessed the exchange. Bosio was provided an opportunity to apologize to the attendant after his outburst but declined to do so, according to multiple sources.

Bosio disputed he’d done anything wrong, insisting his words had been taken out of context and were instead directed at pitcher Daniel Stumpf, a white player Bosio claims he calls “spider monkey.”

“That’s his nickname,” Bosio told reporters after his firing. “He’s a skinny little white kid who makes all of these funny faces when he works out. The kid thought we were talking about him. He got all upset. He assumed we were talking about him. I said, “No, no, no. We’re talking about Stumpf.’ And that was it. I swear on my mom and dad’s graves, there was nothing else to it.’’

Stumpf, however, told the Detroit Free Press “Spider Monkey is not a nickname I have been called or I’m familiar with.” That lends some additional credence to Rosenthal and Strang’s report, which was sourced by multiple people who were inside the team’s locker room at the time.

The Tigers didn’t get into specifics about Bosio’s firing, simply pointing to “insensitive comments” as the reason for his dismissal:

Effective immediately, the Detroit Tigers have terminated the contract of pitching coach Chris Bosio for his insensitive comments that violated club policy and his Uniform Employee Contract. The organization holds all of our personnel to the highest standards of personal conduct both on and off the field. We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior. The club will have no further comment on this matter.

Bosio joined the Detroit staff this season after spending the previous six as the Cubs’ pitching coach. He was fired in October 2017 but hired by the Tigers fewer than two weeks later to help rebuild the club’s rotation and bullpen. Instead, his tenure with the team lasted fewer than seven months.

Bosio, who was reportedly fired in a unanimous decision by Detroit executives, told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale he plans to hire an attorney to help determine whether or not he was wrongfully terminated by the Tigers.