Cincinnati Reds Legend Johnny Bench Apologizes for ‘Insensitive’ Remark About Jews

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Johnny Bench, the legendary Cincinnati Reds catcher, is facing criticism for making what many perceive as an anti-Semitic comment during a team ceremony. The incident occurred at the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame induction ceremony, where Gabe Paul, a former general manager, was being honored along with others.

During Jennie Paul’s speech about her father, she mentioned that he was Jewish and had advocated for minorities in baseball.

“He was a minority himself. I don’t know if many of you know that he was Jewish,” Jennie Paul said of her father, according to The Athletic. “He was a very big proponent for the underdog because he was an underdog himself. He went into the Latin leagues and the Negro leagues and he signed as many minority players as he could, which strengthened the Reds.”

Reds great Pete Rose reminisced that “I was right out of high school in 1960. Gabe Paul signed me to a contract. For 400 bucks a month.”

Jennie Paul then joked, “That cheap … never mind.”

That is when Bench chimed in with: “He was Jewish.”

After the event, some individuals criticized Bench for his comment. However, Jennie Paul stated that she was not even aware of what he had said. She clarified that her father was born in modern-day Ukraine and raised as an Episcopalian. Gabe Paul served as the Reds’ general manager from 1952 to 1960 and was recognized for his contributions to the team’s success.

Following the incident, Bench issued an apology through the Reds, acknowledging that his comment was insensitive and detracted from the deserved attention on Gabe Paul. He expressed remorse for diverting the focus away from Paul’s achievement.

“I recognize my comment was insensitive,” the statement read. “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.”



  1. Oh please. No one has any sense of humor anymore. No one can take a joke. Everyone is woke. Everyone is so sensitive.


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