Jeremy Guthrie issued a pregame mea culpa Wednesday before the fourth game of the American League Championship Series at Kauffman Stadium.
Guthrie apologized for his wardrobe choice from a night earlier — a blue T-shirt that read “These O’s Ain’t Royal” — for the postgame press conference after a 2-1 game-three victory in which he started.
The wording is a play off the chorus from Chris Brown’s vulgar hit single “Loyal.”
Guthrie said he was aware of the refrain, but didn’t fully appreciate the graphic nature of the song overall.
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“For the most part, I’m pretty unaware,” Guthrie said. “I know there’s a rhyme and that’s where the shirt came from. That’s what looked to me, quote-unquote, clever. Unfortunately, clever is not a good situation here.”
Guthrie’s shirt touched off a firestorm on social media with celebrity Orioles fan and “The Good Wife” star Josh Charles saying the Royals’ pitcher showed “a true lack of class.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter only had one question about the T-shirt controversy, jokingly asking reporters, “Was it licensed?”
Guthrie, who went 47-65 with a 4.12 ERA for the Orioles from 2007 to 2011, also heard from several former Baltimore teammates and staff.
“I’ve already apologized to a number of people, because there’s no intention on my part ever to offend,” Guthrie said. “If you know me, I’m not a person that likes confrontation. I’m not a person that wants to go out there and get anybody angry with me or my squad. This is totally on my shoulders.”
Orioles pitcher Chris Tillman said Guthrie sent him a text apologizing for the T-shirt.
“I haven’t had a chance to text him back,” Tillman said.
Guthrie, who is known for frequently wearing off-color or ironic T-shirts after games, said he was given the shirt by a fan and showed “a lack of judgment in putting that shirt on after the game.”
“I really feel like the people who know me would look at that and say, ‘That’s Jeremy being Jeremy,’” Guthrie said. “… If you see a Jeremy Guthrie interview, I’m always wearing some shirt — whether it’s “The Hunt for Blue October,” a Facebook thumbs up, Stark Industries, a number of shirts that are just like the rest. I find them fun and yesterday I was blinded to the fact that what I thought was fun was going to be offensive.”
He later added, “I wear every shirt imaginable that I think are fun and entertaining for the fans. Quite frankly, that’s where I thought that shirt would fall is entertaining and fun. … The fans — Orioles fans, in particular — were very upset. They thought that I was slighting the city and an organization that showed me nothing but respect and gave me an opportunity. I still don’t think the shirt, what it said, disrespected the Orioles’ organization, but if that’s the way they feel, I need to apologize.”
Guthrie went on to apologize “to everybody — anyone and everyone that was offended,” he said. “You’ll never see the shirt again. The shirt was sent to me and it will be sent to the garbage, because that’s probably where it belongs at this point.”