Fan apologizes for throwing banana

Updated: August 12, 2013, 8:56 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

A San Francisco Giants fan has apologized for throwing a banana during Sunday's game against Baltimore, claiming that it was not a racially motivated insult to Orioles star Adam Jones.

Alexander Poulides told the San Jose Mercury News that he grabbed a banana off a catering cart at AT&T Park and threw it toward the field in frustration near the end of the Orioles' 10-2 victory over the struggling Giants.

The banana evidently was thrown in the vicinity of Jones, who angrily tweeted about the incident following the game. Jones, who is black, also criticized people who apparently defended the incident and hinted that he may no longer participate in social media.

Poulides told the Mercury News that he did not intend to create an uproar and stated that he realized how his actions had been portrayed when he turned on the television to watch the news Monday.

"Oh, my god," Poulides told the newspaper, recounting his realization. "I threw a banana on my way out."

Jones told reporters before Monday's game against Arizona that the incident was unfortunate, but that he had bigger things to worry about.

"It's unfortunate that things happen like that, but it ain't going stop me, myself and the Orioles," he said. "We have games to win. It's mid-August. I've got a bigger concern in my head than someone's ignorance or act of whatever. You know what I mean?"

The Giants already had launched an investigation of the incident by the time Poulides contacted the Mercury News. The team told the paper that it has not been able to confirm whether Poulides threw the banana.

Poulides, 42, emphasized on multiple occasions that he did not mean to insult Jones.

"I'm embarrassed and shocked by the outcome," Poulides told the paper. "In hindsight, I wish I didn't do it and I apologize. I'm very sorry."

The Giants released a public statement earlier Monday, also apologizing for the incident.

"We were extremely disappointed to learn about the incident involving Adam Jones at AT&T Park yesterday," the statement said. "The Giants have a zero tolerance policy against this type of behavior, which results in immediate ejection from the ballpark. While we have been investigating the matter since we learned of the situation, unfortunately we have been unable to identify the person responsible.

"We would like to extend our sincerest apologies to Adam and the entire Orioles organization for this unfortunate incident. The inappropriate actions of this individual in no way reflect the values of our organization and our fans."

Jones homered and had four RBIs in the contest.

"I want to thank whatever slapd--- threw that banana towards my direction in CF in the last inning. Way to show ur class u jacka--," Jones tweeted to his more than 129,000 followers on Sunday night.

Two hours after his first tweet on the matter, Jones commented on those who apparently were defending the alleged actions of the fan:

Jones added that the experience may keep the man behind more than 20,000 tweets off social media.

Throwing a banana in the direction of a black player is considered a racist action and has taken place previously in the NHL as well as in European soccer.

Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers had a banana thrown in his direction while on the ice during an exhibition game in his native Ontario in 2011.

In Europe, black soccer players have had to contend with bananas being thrown at them, although such displays largely have been eradicated from the game in western Europe. One high-profile instance came in Russia involving Brazilian star Roberto Carlos.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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