BOSTON (CBS) – On the cusp of being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Red Sox great Pedro Martinez had strong words for a former ESPN host who sparked controversy with his remarks about players from the Dominican Republic.
“It’s only going to be an insult to anyone that falls to that level. I’m not at that level, I’m sorry. I’m dealing here with educated people, polite people, people that understand human rights, that understand who we are. These are people I’m paying attention to,” Martinez said on Saturday at his Hall of Fame media day press conference. “That person, I don’t even know, I never heard of him, I don’t know him, I don’t want to know him.”
Martinez’s remarks were in response to comments by Colin Cowherd late this week on his ESPN show.
“I’ve never bought that baseball is too complex. Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic,” Cowherd said on the air.
Major League Baseball issued a statement condemning the host’s remarks.
Cowherd was in his final week at ESPN before leaving for another network. On Friday, however, ESPN announced that he would no longer appear on its airwaves.
During his Saturday remarks, Martinez strongly defended himself and his fellow Dominicans.
“But you know what? Every once in a while you’re going to get one like me, that’s not afraid to face you guys, to tell you how educated or uneducated I am, how proud I am of becoming who I am,” Martinez said.
“We’re not going to stop and go back to probably the third-world country that we were 30 years ago. We want to go forward. We’re looking forward. We don’t want to look down, to where (Cowherd) is.”
Martinez will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday along with a class that includes fellow pitchers John Smoltz and Randy Johnson.
He will also have his number retired by the Red Sox on Tuesday at Fenway Park.
“We are way up here – Hall of Fame starters,” Martinez said, concluding his remarks about Cowherd, who he never referred to by name. “That’s where he needs to get. If he can’t get here, I’m sorry. He’s not going to talk to me.”