A poor song selection by a Cubs employee has landed the club in an awkward public relations predicament.
When Cubs pitcher Aroldis Chapman left the mound during Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, the song “Smack My Bitch Up” by the band Prodigy played over the stadium’s PA system.
The title and lyrics of the song may have been questionable in their own right, but playing it over the PA system was in poor taste given this additional contextual note: Chapman, who the Cubs acquired via trade with the Yankees, began the season under a 29-game suspension for violations of the league’s domestic violence policy.
Police cited a number of issues with the case against Chapman, including insufficient evidence, conflicting stories and uncooperative witnesses, and did not file charges against the reliever at the time.
The employee who selected the song was fired Monday, and the Cubs issued a statement.
“We apologize for the irresponsible music selection during our game last night,” Crane Kenney, Cubs president of baseball operations said in the statement. “The selection of this track showed a lack of judgment and sensitivity to an important issue. We have terminated our relationship with the employee responsible for making the selection and will be implementing stronger controls to review and approve music before public broadcast during our games.”
It’s not the first time music played over the PA has caused headaches for a team, or forced them to revisit playlists.
Earlier this year, the Padres issued an apology for a gaffe during the National Anthem. The team played a version that featured a female voice during a performance by the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, for which the singers were ridiculed with homophobic taunts.
In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State stopped playing the song “Sweet Caroline” at football games. The song features the lyrics “Hands, touching hands, reaching out, touching me, touching you.” The university said the lyrics had no bearing on the choice to remove the song.