Cincinnati Reds legendary catcher Johnny Bench apologized on Sunday for an antisemitic remark he made on Saturday. Bench was attending a press conference to honor former Reds general manager Gabe Paul, as well as former pitchers Bronson Arroyo and Danny Graves.
Paul, Arroyo and Graves were being inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame.
Jennie Paul, the daughter of Gabe Paul, represented the family at the event since Gabe Paul died in 1988. Toward the end of the press conference, Pete Rose talked about his first contract talks with Gabe Paul.
"When I got out of high school in 1960, Gabe Paul signed me to a contract for 400 bucks a month," Rose recalled.
Jennie Paul followed it up by saying, "That cheap, never mind."
Bench then responded, "He was Jewish." On Sunday, Bench released a statement in which he apologized for the "insensitive" remark.
"I recognize my comment was insensitive," Bench said. "I apologized to Jennie for taking away from her father the full attention he deserves. Gabe Paul earned his place in the Reds Hall of Fame, same as the others who stood on that stage, I am sorry that some of the focus is on my inappropriate remark instead of solely on Gabe's achievement."
According to The Athletic, Jennie Paul informed members of the media that she didn't initially hear Bench's comment.
"I didn't even hear him say that," Jennie Paul added. "Johnny came up and said, 'Were you offended?' and I said, 'For what?'
"I didn't even hear him say that. I suppose if I would've heard him say that, I would've said something, but I didn't even hear him say that."
Gabe Paul served as the Reds general manager from 1951 until 1960. Paul acquired of several of Cincinnati's star players, including Rose, Bench, Tony Perez and Frank Robinson, who served as some of the foundational pieces for the Reds team that won a pair of World Series titles in the 1970s.