Antoan Richardson says Mike Shildt yelled at him with ‘undertones of racism’

SAN FRANCISCO — It is unusual for a first base coach to speak to the media after a game, and probably just about unprecedented in baseball history for a first base coach to ask that the media return to the clubhouse after it has closed.

But Antoan Richardson felt very strongly Tuesday night that he needed to share what was on his mind, and it soon became clear why.

Standing a few feet outside the Giants clubhouse after a 13-2 win over the San Diego Padres, Richardson explained how he came to be ejected — for no reason, he felt — in the third inning of the game. Richardson, who is from the Bahamas, felt Padres third base coach Mike Shildt treated him in a manner that had “undertones of racism,” yet it was Richardson who was tossed.

Richardson said Shildt was staring into the Giants dugout in the third inning and Richardson asked, “Can I help you? Are you looking for somebody?” Shildt told him he was looking for Giants pitcher Alex Wood, and manager Gabe Kapler came over to see what was happening. Richardson said Shildt yelled words he believed were meant for Kapler.

“He yelled, ‘You need to control that motherf—-r,'” Richardson said. “At that point in time, I went up to the top step and I said, ‘Excuse me?’ I couldn’t believe what I heard. [Greg] Gibson, the crew chief, decided to toss me from the game. I think that his words were disproportionately unwarranted and [had] undertones of racism when he referred to me as ‘that motherf—-r,’ as if I am to be controlled or a piece of property or enslaved. I think it’s just really important that we understand what happened tonight.

“The second part that’s equally disappointing is that me being tossed by that umpire empowered this coach to continue to have conversations like that with people like me, and that’s really unfortunate that that’s what happened tonight. With that being said, I’m really excited that Alyssa [Nakken] got her opportunity to make her major league debut, and I’m very proud of her. I think she did a really wonderful job and we got a win, so that’s the most important thing.”

Richardson said he never used foul language, and he was told he was ejected for “instigating.” His ejection meant Nakken was sent out to coach first base, making her the first woman to coach in an on-field position in MLB history. That will have an impact on the game as long as it’s played, but Richardson’s accusations certainly will have a big impact on this season.

This is the first of six series between the NL West rivals, and even before Richardson spoke out, it was clear the Padres were fuming over the Giants’ decision to steal a base and bunt for a hit with a huge lead.

Kapler defended both of those decisions. An hour later, he came out of the clubhouse to back Richardson, one of the most well-liked members of the staff.

“I trust Antoan’s judgment 100 percent,” Kapler said. “I trust Antoan’s judgment on the matter and I know that Antoan was not out of control at all, and that anything that was said to insinuate that he was is totally inappropriate. He didn’t instigate any part of this.”

Kapler said he didn’t actually hear what Shildt said, but he didn’t think it was appropriate for Richardson to be ejected. He hadn’t spoken to anyone from the Padres after the game. The teams play again Wednesday afternoon at Oracle Park.

Richardson said he understands that his statement will become a story, but he felt it was important to speak out. When Richardson came out to talk to reporters, Giants outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. also came out of the clubhouse and stood a few feet away.

“It’s important that we bring awareness to this,” Richardson said. “Unfortunately, this is what exists in our world, and I think it’s important that we understand when we do make comments and we do take actions like this, what that means for communities.

“I share this story not just for myself, but I share this story for other people that look like me. I know I’ve had the full support of my teammates and others that I would be letting them down if I did not share this story tonight.”

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