Monday February 22nd, 2016

Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon planned on wearing an "Obama can’t ban these guns" muscle t-shirt as he apologized for choking teammate Bryce Harper in a press conference, but was talked out of it by the team.

In a story on Sunday, The Washington Post detailed Papelbon’s behavior on the day following his meeting with the media, which wasn’t any different than normal. The former Red Sox and Phillies reliever played a song titled Can’t Shut Me Up in the team’s clubhouse, and showed up wearing the shirt he wanted to wear before the media.

From Thomas Boswell of the Post:

Loud and large, he was at the center of the room, picking the team’s music play list, including the country song “Can’t Shut Me Up.” Key lyrics: “I’m the siren you can’t unplug ... The only switch I have is ‘on’ ... You can’t cover up the truth with duct tape.”

...

Later, he walked the Nats complex in a cut-off muscle T-shirt with arrows pointing to big biceps covered in jagged tattoos. It said: “Obama Can’t Ban These Guns.” Pap wanted to wear that shirt to the “apology press conference” but they talked him out of it.

On Friday, Papelbon told reporters that he “was in the wrong.”

“Me and Bryce, we’re good,” Papelbon said. “Like we’ve both said, I’ve apologized to him. I’ve apologized to my teammates. I want to apologize to the fans and the coaches and everyone included, and I think that with what happened last year, I was in the wrong. Should have never went down that way, and I understand that.

After Harper jogged out a pop-up during a Sept. 27 game last season, Papelbon aggressively scolded him upon returning to the dugout. It ended in a brief physical altercation that had to be broken up by teammates.

Papelbon is entering the final year of a four-year, $50 million deal that he signed with the Phillies in 2012. The 35-year-old is owed $11 million this season.

– Kenny Ducey

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