Washington Nationals' closer Jonathan Papelbon talked to reporters after the televised dugout altercation with Bryce Harper which led, in part, to his season-ending suspension late last September.
Papelbon reportedly apologized to teammates at the time as well, and did his best when he met with reporters in the immediate aftermath of his blow-up to explain that it was just one of things that will sometimes happen in the course of a season, like brothers who fight and then quickly move past it.
"I grew up with brothers, he grew up with brothers," Papelbon said. "I view him as a brother of mine and sometimes in this game there's a lot of testosterone there's a lot of intensity that spills over and I think that happened today and you know for me I can't allow that to happen in the middle of the game, you can handle that after the games or allow the manager to handle that so in that light of it I'm wrong."
"For me it's just a tough season and a lot of things boil over," he explained further. "You want to say that you know it's for one thing or another and it's not -- it's like I said, you have a brotherly relationship with each other and you grind every day and you try to pick each other up and you root for each other and you cheer for each other and when one goes down you pick him up and I think that from this situation we'll come closer together I do."
Papelbon was suspended the next day and later appealed the fact that he was suspended without pay, and there were rumors he might be traded this winter, but when no deal went down it became clear that the veteran reliever would be back in the Nationals' bullpen, so his arrival at Spring Training was anticipated.
What would he have to say? Would he apologize to Nationals fans, who've expressed their anger over the incident in public forums and on social media since the day it happened and didn't exactly see what he said in September as a contrite, true apology?
We found out the answers this afternoon when the 35-year-old closer arrived at the Nationals' Spring Training facilities and addressed the issue for what he said will be the last time.
Here's what Papelbon had to say via the reporters who are on the scene in Viera, Florida:
Jonathan Papelbon: "I was in the wrong." pic.twitter.com/TDqg8gK3vZ— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) February 19, 2016
Papelbon: "I'm not a perfect human being...I don't claim to be. So for me, I realize what I did was wrong." pic.twitter.com/0oqEJxMMco— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) February 19, 2016
Papelbon spoke 12 minutes, very contrite. Apologized to Harper, teammates, fans.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) February 19, 2016
On final-week suspension: "Probably the toughest point of my career."— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) February 19, 2016
Papelbon on being suspended during the last week of the season: "Probably one of the toughest points of my career" pic.twitter.com/C3WFZPQtKL— Jamal Collier (@JamalCollier) February 19, 2016