Pete Rose was not willing to talk about allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a minor decades ago.
In Philadelphia on Sunday to celebrate the 1980 world champions, Rose declined to address the issue.
“No, I’m not here to talk about that. Sorry about that. It was 55 years ago, babe,” heh told female Philadelphia Inquirer Phillies writer Alex Coffey.
The 81-year-old, 17-time All-Star, banned from baseball in 1989 for gambling on the sport from 1985-87, did not answer any further questions. Still, the Phillies were going to honor him in 2017 and induct him into their Wall of Fame before the allegations arose.
A woman identified as Jane Doe claimed that she had a sexual relationship with Rose when she was 14 or 15 years old in 1973. She was married at the time with two children. His lawyer has said the allegations are unverified.
Back in 2017, Rose admitted he had a relationship with the woman, but said that she was 16, the legal age of consent in Ohio. He said they didn’t have any sexual encounters outside of Ohio, which goes against the accuser’s account.
After Sunday’s ceremony honoring the 1980 team, the Associated Press asked Rose about his interaction with Coffey.
“I’m going to tell you one more time. I’m here for the Philly fans. I’m here for my teammates. I’m here for the Phillies organization,” Rose said, per the Inquirer. “And who cares what happened 50 years ago. You weren’t even born. So you shouldn’t be talking about it, because you weren’t born. If you don’t know a damn thing about it, don’t talk about it.”
Coffey reported that a representative of Rose’s approached her afterwards and apologized on Rose’s behalf. Rose then joked to her, “will you forgive me if I sign 1,000 baseballs for you?” before saying “sorry.”
The Phillies have defended including Rose in this latest ceremony.
“In planning the 1980 reunion, we consulted with Pete’s teammates about his inclusion,” the team previously said in a statement. “Everyone wants Pete to be part of the festivities since there would be no trophy in 1980 without him. In addition, the club received permission from the Commissioner’s Office to invite Pete as a member of the championship team.”