NEW YORK (WWJ/AP) - Detroit Tigers star Delmon Young has pleaded guilty to aggravated harassment for shouting an anti-Semitic slur and tackling a man to the ground outside a Manhattan hotel.
The 27-year-old left fielder was ordered to complete 10 days of community service and enroll in a program at the Museum of Tolerance New York as part of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office restorative justice program. His lawyer didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
In the court-ordered program, Young will participate in interactive workshops, videos, guided discussions and special instruction by museum educators to explore issues of prejudice, diversity, and tolerance, the district attorney’s office said.
The museum reports progress back to prosecutors. If Young completes the program successfully he’ll be able to withdraw his plea and plead guilty to a lesser charge.
Young was standing outside of the Hilton Hotel on 6th Avenue in New York at about 2:30 a.m. on April 27 when the incident occurred. The Tigers were in town to play the Yankees.
According to reports, a panhandler wearing a yarmulke approached a group of people to ask for some change – and that’s when Young, who was nearby, started shouting, “F–king Jews! F–king Jews!”
The confrontation quickly turned physical, according to police, when Young allegedly pushed a 32-year-old man to the ground.
Both groups eventually retreated to their rooms, and that’s when sources say the man Young allegedly injured noticed several scratches on his arm and called 911. Police responded to the hotel, where the victim received treatment for minor injuries.
Sources say that Young was “highly intoxicated” and had to be taken to the hospital to sober up before being taken to a police precinct.
Young was suspended for seven days without pay by the commissioner’s office. About a week after his arrest, Young issued an apology to fans through the media.
“I would like to apologize to everyone that has been affected by this situation… and anyone who has been offended by my actions. I put myself in a bad situation and I have no one to blame but myself. I am currently getting treatment in an alcohol program through Major League baseball. All the things people are saying about representing me, I made a lapse in judgment, but I can tell you that I am not anti-Semitic,” Young said.
“That’s the toughest part, just being branded racist or a bigot, especially when that’s just not me. I have got a lot of diverse friends and live in a diverse area and that’s not me and my character … That incident was an alcohol related incident and I know for a fact that I would not be here in front of you guys if I didn’t have too much to drink or I just didn’t go out and drink at all. I know that for a fact,” he said.
“I hope that after a while that they (the fans) can see that person that is being portrayed wasn’t who I am and it’s not what I stand for. I know it’s going to take a while; you can’t smooth these things over and convince anyone after just one speech. Just have to go out there every day and be a positive influence,” he continued.
It wasn’t the first time he’s been in trouble. In the minors, Young was suspended for 50 games in 2006 for infamously whipping his bat and hitting an umpire after the then-20-year-old player struck out looking.
Young was first drafted into the Majors in 2003. He played for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2006 before being traded to the Minnesota Twins prior to the 2008 season. He stayed with the Twins until last season where he was traded to the Tigers. Young, who batted .267 with 18 homers and 74 RBIs this year, most recently won the ALCS MVP award.
Detroit is prepared to let designated-hitter Young leave the team via free agency.
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