Ripken Jr. on Zaun's hazing allegations: 'There was no abuse'

Jonah Birenbaum
Joy R. Absalon / USA TODAY Sports / Reuters

Gregg Zaun alleged last week that he was the victim of rookie hazing during the nascent stages of his career, detailing during an appearance on a Toronto radio station the abuse meted out by several prominent members of the Baltimore Orioles, including Hall of Fame inductee Cal Ripken Jr.

The Orioles icon attempted Monday to dispel the allegations made by Zaun, who spent 16 seasons in the majors and has served as a studio analyst for the Toronto Blue Jays on Rogers Sportsnet since 2011.

"I talked to him because he's a friend of mine. I consider him a good friend," Ripken told MASN's Roch Kubatko. "I don't know how it got all out of whack. He apologized and said he used the wrong words. There was no abuse, there was no hazing. It doesn't do anything for team unity. He knows that and everybody who knows me knows that."

Zaun also tried to soften his stance Monday, suggesting his comments were misconstrued while emphasizing that the incidents he detailed last week weren't malicious but simply fun and games.

"I was telling stories about tomfoolery, a little roughhousing on planes and whatnot, and I guess some of the phrases that I used may have rubbed people the wrong way or painted Cal especially in a light that was unfair," Zaun said. 

"It was one of those things where a blogger here in Toronto took quotes from a radio interview and completely eliminates the enthusiasm and gratitude I was trying to show toward having been mentored by these guys - guys like Cal Ripken, who had a ton of things going on in his life with The Streak and everything." 

Brady Anderson, the Orioles' vice president of baseball operations and another former player implicated by Zaun, also disputed the allegations and championed his reputation as an anti-hazer.

"I never did that to anyone," Anderson said. "I don't believe in rookie hazing or status based on tenure and that nonsense. Hated it then and wouldn't put up with it as a rookie, and certainly didn't carry on a tradition I thought was absurd.

"I didn't do it and wouldn't allow it done to me. I've always felt that it's hard enough to feel comfortable as a rookie and a veteran's job was to include them and make them feel a part of the team. We want them to perform and help us win games and I never understood how being dismissive of them or dressing them up in silly costumes was a logical path to that desired outcome."