What did he say?
That was the question almost everyone had Wednesday when the Detroit Tigers announced they had fired pitching coach Chris Bosio for "insensitive comments" about a team employee.
On Thursday, Bosio told Bob Nightengale of USA Today he was fired "for using the word 'monkey' in a conversation that was overheard by — but not involving — an African-American clubhouse attendant."
Bosio said he was talking about relief pitcher Daniel Stumpf, who was drafted by the Royals in 2012 and was in their organization for five seasons.
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"Someone in our coaches' room asked me (Monday afternoon) about Stumpf. And I said, 'Oh, you mean, 'Spider Monkey,' " Bosio told USA Today. "That's his nickname. 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."
The Detroit Free-Press reported that Stumpf is on a rehabilitation assignment in the minor leagues and didn't respond to text messages.
The Free-Press talked with multiple Tigers players and coaches who have played with Stumpf and none said they'd heard him called "Spider Monkey," but one current teammate said he has heard that nickname for him, "although not directly."
Bosio will hire a lawyer and decide if he wants to file a wrongful termination lawsuit, according to USA Today.
"I’m crushed. I'm absolutely crushed," Bosio told USA Today. "I still can’t believe it's gotten to this point. I'm in shock.
"I've got to protect myself some way, because this is damaging as hell to me. I've got to fight for myself. Everyone knows this is not me. I didn't use any profanity. There was no vulgarity. The N-word wasn’t used. No racial anything. It was a comment, and a nickname we used for a player."
However, Ken Rosenthal and Katie Strang of The Athletic talked with unnamed Tigers sources who said Bosio directly called an African-American clubhouse attendant who was collecting towels in the coaches' room a "monkey." It came during a post-game meeting.
This is from the Athletic story: "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."