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Baseball Star Delmon Young Charged with Hate Crime After Midtown Fight

By  Julie  Shapiro Patrick Hedlund and William Gorta | April 27, 2012 9:17am | Updated on April 27, 2012 8:36pm

Delmon Young outside of the courthouse April 27, 2012.
Delmon Young outside of the courthouse April 27, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Alan Neuhauser

MIDTOWN — Detroit Tigers slugger Delmon Young was charged with a hate crime Friday after he attacked a man and spewed anti-Semitic slurs during a drunken tirade outside a hotel, police and prosecutors said.

Young, 26, was charged with aggravated harassment as a hate crime and was released on $5,000 bail Friday evening after allegedly tackling a 32-year-old man who confronted him over the slurs about 2:30 a.m. Friday outside the Hilton Hotel on Sixth Avenue at West 54th Street, police and prosecutors said.

Prior to the fight, a "heavily intoxicated" Young had been standing outside the hotel when a panhandler wearing a yarmulke approached a group of Chicago tourists asking for money, police sources said.

Jason Shank, the man who was allegedly attacked by baseball player Delmon Young.
Jason Shank, the man who was allegedly attacked by baseball player Delmon Young.
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That's when the ballplayer flew into a rage, yelling, "You bunch of f---ing Jews!" sources and the District Attorney's office said.

Jason Shank, 32, from Illinois, was returning to the hotel with three friends and had just given money to the panhandler when he heard Young's outburst, the Daily News reported.

Shank and his friends confronted him, and Shank and Young began shoving each other, the Daily News reported.

Young tackled the victim and shoved him to the ground, leaving him with a scratched, bleeding arm, prosecutors said. 

Young was arrested on aggravated harassment charges and taken to Roosevelt Hospital for evaluation, cops said.

During Young's arraignment Friday evening, prosecutor Andrew Mercer called the crime "a serious case."

Daniel Ollen, Young's defense lawyer, argued unsuccessfully for Young to be released without paying bail.

"This is a man with no criminal record," Ollen said. "He's a world-famous baseball player."

Ollen added that there is a video of the incident which shows that the attack was not one-sided.

"It is clear from the video...right before the scuffle, one of the people in the opposite party's group said something that caused my client to react," Ollen said.

Young posted bail Friday evening and walked out of the courthouse into a waiting taxi without speaking to reporters.

Detroit is in town for a three-game series against the Yankees set to begin Friday night. Ollen said Young was not expected in Friday's game.

The Anti-Defamation League released a statement expressing concern about the incident. 

"We were deeply disturbed at reports that Delmon Young shouted anti-Semitic epithets during a melee in front of a Midtown Manhattan hotel," the ADL said in the statement. "Bigoted words are unbecoming for any professional sports player and anti-Semitism certainly has no place in the game, either on or off the field."

Detroit Tigers slugger Delmon Young was arrested in alleged Midtown assault April 27, 2012.
Detroit Tigers slugger Delmon Young was arrested in alleged Midtown assault April 27, 2012.
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The ADL added that Young ought to apologize for his comments.

"Like all celebrities, Major League baseball players are role models for young people and bear an important responsibility as being looked up to as models for appropriate behavior," the ADL said. "When a player engages in hateful or racist remarks, it does great damage not only to their reputation, but that of their team and the entire franchise."

Young's teammate, All-Star third-basemen Miguel Cabrera, and other Detroit players walked out of the hotel Friday morning but said they weren't aware of the incident.

"I sincerely regret what happened last night," Young said in a statement, according to reports. "I take this matter very seriously and assure everyone that I will do everything I can to improve myself as a person and player."

The Tigers issued a statement saying the team does not comment on legal matters.

"This is an allegation and we need to allow the legal process to take its course," the statement said in part. "It would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time. Per a provision in the Major League Baseball Basic Agreement, any allegation that involves alcohol is referred to MLB's Employee Assistance Program."

Editor's Note: Alan Neuhauser contributed reporting to this story.