ESPN parts ways with Colin Cowherd early following offensive remarks

ESPN has cut radio host Colin Cowherd following his offensive remarks on Dominican baseball players in the big leagues.

A statement released by the network said Cowherd's comments "do not reflect the values of ESPN and our employees."

ESPN had previously announced that Cowherd's contract was due to expire by mutual accord after 12 years but his show was expected to air until next Friday (31 July).

On Thursday (23 July), Cowherd expressed his belief that general managers are capable of switching roles and taking on managerial duties and said: "You think a general manager can manage? Like it's impossible? The game is too complex? I've never bought into that, 'Baseball's too complex.' Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic."

He went on to add the Dominican Republic is not well known for its world class education system and that many of its players come from underprivileged background.

Cowherd attempted to clarify the remarks on Friday's show stating he "did not intend to offend anyone" and that the second part of what he described as a 57-second rant was not published.

"I realise my choice of words was poor and not reflective of who I am," he said. "I am sorry."

Cowherd's explanation was not enough to satisfy Major League Baseball and the players association, with baseball issuing a statement that condemned his "inappropriate, offensive" remarks which are "completely inconsistent with the values if our game."

Toronto Blue Jays player Jose Bautista, who has a foundation that aims to improve access to higher education for young athletes, released a statement that said Cowherd's attempts to clarify the remarks were not acceptable.

"Not only am I proud to be from the Dominican Republic, but it is an honour to be representing the DR in Major League Baseball," read the statement. "Unfortunately there are hardships that do exist for people of every background, and in some circumstances, yes there are 'educational hurdles'. However, there is a difference between that and ignorance or stupidity, which I believe was implied."

Both ESPN and Fox - where Cowherd is widely expected to move to - are rights holders to MLB games. It is not clear what impact his comments may have on the deal with Fox.

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