Earlier this month Evan Longoria did an interview with David Brown over at Big League Stew, and for the most part it seemed pretty harmless and humorous. There was one question that Evan did answer though that caused quite a stir in the Dominican community when he was asked which Ray should never sport a mohawk.
Q: Who on this team should not have gotten a Mohawk, no matter how much a team guy he wanted to be?
EL: Well, he still doesn't have one. Carlos [Pena]. And I told him not to. He asked me multiple times if he should get one. I just don't think he'll look good with it. He's the clean-cut Latin guy on our team. I guess it's debatable if he's Latin or not. He is Dominican. I told him not to.
Q: Has he been in the United States "too long" to be considered Latino anymore?
EL: I don't even look at him as Dominican, and that's nothing against Dominicans, but he's been in the States for so long - he went to high school and college here - in the States. He's very well educated and it's tough for me to look at him and think he came from the Dominican.
So basically, what Evan said was that he doesn't see Carlos Pena as a Dominican because he's too clean-cut and smart. I don't think that's what Evan was trying to say when answering the question as much as he was just trying to give his teammate and friend some crap, but apparently Dominicans didn't see it that way.
Dominicans got so upset about the comments, in fact, that Longoria felt the need to issue a public apology on ESPNDeportes.
"Pido excusas a todos los dominicanos de todo corazón. Me excuso con los latinos si los hice sentir mal. Jamás trataría de ofender a alguien por su nacionalidad, raza o color."
My Spanish hasn't been that great since I graduated high school, but thankfully the internet has translators, and Longoria's apology can be loosely translated as "" I wholeheartedly apologize to all Dominicans if I made them feel bad. I never try to offend someone by their nationality, race or color."
As I said earlier, I really don't think Evan was trying to rip on Dominicans as much as he was Carlos Pena, but this should be an important lesson for him. Now that the Rays are winning, they're in the spotlight a lot more, and Longoria is going to have to be aware that a lot of people are going to hear him speak now.
(Tip of the hat to Shysterball, which is a blog that loves the Dominican Republic, its people, and its wonderful customs)