04/21/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT
Atlanta Braves No. 1 relief pitcher John Rocker was suspended from the game for 73 days on Monday, which will cause him to miss spring training and the first 28 days of the new season. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said that the 25-year-old player had dishonored Major League Baseball by disparaging many groups of society with the harsh comments he made in a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED interview. (Rocker attacked minorities, gays and foreigners in his remarks.) Rocker's suspension marks the first time that a baseball player has ever been disciplined for speech. The players' union said it will file a grievance challenging Rocker's suspension and suggested that the disciplinary action was a public relations ploy.