Baseball Needs to Do More About Sexual Violence

Jeurys Familia is one of four players suspended under the new domestic violence policy. (via Arturo Pardavila III)

Recently, Pablo Sandoval was designated by the Boston Red Sox for assignment, only to return to his first team, the San Francisco Giants, on a minor league deal. For some Giants fans, myself included, the homecoming was not particularly welcome, and it wasn’t just because of his rapidly eroding skill set.

In 2012, it became public that Sandoval had been accused of committing sexual assault. Though the sheriff of Santa Cruz (Calif.) County determined that Sandoval “did not sexually assault” the accuser, and no charges were filed, the incident left a bad taste in the mouths of several fans, some of whom are sexual assault survivors.

When Sandoval re-signed with the Giants, the story again made its rounds on social media, and it became increasingly evident that the incident was far more significant than it originally seemed. For many, this was the first time hearing about the accusations. But for those who knew his history — and more specifically baseball’s history — his continued presence in baseball comes as no surprise, his name joining a long list of other such players. This shock and resignation, though,  point to mechanisms in baseball that allow its players to commit violent crimes against women without facing many repercussions.

Sandoval’s sexual assault allegation is not the only one in recent baseball history. Pitcher Josh Lueke was arrested on rape charges when he was a Texas Rangers minor leaguer in Bakersfield, Calif. Lueke would go on to plead no contest to a lesser charge: false imprisonment with violence.

In 2013, two minor leaguers in the Rockies organization were charged with sexual assault. Pitchers Michael Mason and Jesse Meaux were then placed on the restricted list following the charges, but the charges were dropped in 2015. They have not pitched professionally since the arrest.

In 1992, Dwight Gooden, Daryl Boston and Vince Coleman of the New York Mets had allegations of sexual assault brought against them, but a Florida state prosecutor dismissed the case “because the case lacks corroborating evidence and comes down ‘to the word of a victim against that of three individuals’” — the three Mets players.

Mel Hall, who played major league baseball from 1981 to 1996, is currently serving 45 years in a Texas prison for sexually assaulting minors. A longform piece by SB Nation detailed the allegations that Hall preyed upon female minors during his career.

Chad Curtis, who played in the majors from 1992-2001, is currently serving seven to 15 years in Michigan on counts of sexual misconduct.

Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett was charged with false imprisonment, fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, and fifth-degree assault in 2002. He was found not guilty on all charges. After the acquittal, Minnesota Public Radio reported that “the Twins issued a statement after the verdict saying they were glad the matter was closed.”

In 2016, Jung Ho Kang of the Pittsburgh Pirates was investigated for sexual assault. In September of 2016, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the investigation was still ongoing, though police were unable to contact the accuser. As of publication, Kang is on the restricted list while serving a suspended sentence in South Korea for his third DUI. He is seeking visa help from the MLB Players Association to return to the Pirates. The Post-Gazette also reported that the sexual assault investigation has not been closed.

More recently, multiple Texas Rangers minor leaguers were charged with sexually assaulting a teammate as part of hazing. There has been no update on this case since it was reported that those charged could not leave the Dominican Republic.

In amateur baseball, prior to the College World Series and June 2017 MLB Amateur Draft, Oregon State University’s Luke Heimlich’s status as a registered sex offender was reported by The Oregonian. As a result, Heimlich went undrafted, but he is not precluded from signing with a team at a later date.

These are but a sampling of the cases we know about publicly, and keep in mind that many more have gone and will go unreported, as is the case outside baseball and/or sports. These players are not aberrations, nor are they a few rotten eggs. It’s easy and tempting to dismiss them as such, but doing so dismisses the problem of toxic masculinity in baseball.

The Incompleat Starting Pitcher
The end of the nine-inning start and how we got here.

Though the specific details of each of the above cases are different, they all feature the same pattern, from the accusations themselves to the responses to both the accused and victim. In these cases, much of the focus from stories in the media and people surrounding them rests on the accused and paints them as victims who have had their lives ruined by these allegations.

Asheville defense attorney Steve Lindsay, who represented former Rockies minor leaguer Mason, was quoted saying the following after the charges were dropped: “This is a guy whose dream was to play professional baseball, and he has probably lost his baseball career forever.”

Lueke called his conviction of false imprisonment with violence “a freak accident kind of thing.” The article headline also says that Lueke was “moving forward,” as though being convicted of a violent crime was something to power through.

And yet, in each instance, there was no mention of how the survivor’s life could’ve been, and most likely was, ruined, thus leading to the allegations. Telling the story only through the eyes of the famous person is an unproductive and unhealthy pattern.

This tendency to side with the aggressors is, viewing it from the other end, a tendency to blame the victims. Specifically, when the defendant is rich or poised to become a celebrity, as is often the case with professional or college athletes, people accuse the victims of making up allegations for the money. But this is extremely rare. In fact, women who accuse men of domestic violence or sexual assault often face harsh consequences in their personal and professional lives. A study by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center says the following:

A review of research finds that the prevalence of false reporting is between 2 percent and 10 percent. The following studies support these findings:

  • A multi-site study of eight U.S. communities including 2,059 cases of sexual assault found a 7.1 percent rate of false reports (Lonsway, Archambault, & Lisak, 2009).
  • A study of 136 sexual assault cases in Boston from 1998-2007 found a 5.9 percent rate of false reports (Lisak et al., 2010).
  • Using qualitative and quantitative analysis, researchers studied 812 reports of sexual assault from 2000-2003 and found a 2.1 percent rate of false reports (Heenan & Murray 2006).

The study also details how the definitions for false allegations are often inconsistent, and things like delayed reporting or vagueness in details can lead to a report being labeled as false, suggesting that the true number of false reports may be even lower.

Either way, this study (along with the studies it aggregates to show its findings) shows that cases of accusers creating false allegations just for fame, victimhood, money, etc., are very, very slim.

Yet victim-blaming persists in sports, stemming from fans to media members to the athletes themselves. The book Masculinities in Contemporary American Culture: An Intersectional Approach to the Complexities and Challenges of Male Identity reminds of an infamous victim-blaming moment, when Stephen A. Smith warned women not to “provoke wrong action” in the wake of the TMZ release of the notorious Ray Rice video.

Sentiments regarding rape culture have changed very little in the last 20 years, as the 1994 book Sex, Violence, and Power in Sports: Rethinking Masculinity demonstrates. In the introduction to its second part, entitled “Sexuality and Power,” authors Michael A. Messner and Donald F. Sabo speak to the phenomenon of violence against women in sports. They wrote:

Until fairly recently, rapes by athletes were treated as deviant acts by a few sick individuals. But news reporters and the public are now beginning to ask if incidents like [Mike] Tyson’s rape or the Spur Posse’s competitive promiscuity are not isolated at all, but rather manifestations of a larger pattern of sexual abuse of women by male athletes. Though no definitive national study has yet been conducted, a growing body of evidence strongly suggests that, at least among college students, male athletes are more likely than male nonathletes to rape acquaintances and to take part in gang rapes. Consider the following:

  • Athletes participated in approximately one-third of 862 sexual assaults on United States campuses according to a 1988-1991 survey by the National Institute of Mental Health (Melnick, 1992).
  • Of twenty-six gang rapes alleged to have occurred from 1980 to 1990, most involved fraternity brothers and varsity athletes, Chris O’Sullivan, a Bucknell University psychologist discovered (Guernsey, 1993).
  • Among 530 college students, including 140 varsity athletes, the athletes had higher levels of sexual aggression toward women than the nonathletes, Mary Koss and John Gaines (1993) found. Koss and Gaines concluded that campus rape-prevention programs should especially target athletic teams.

Compelling as this evidence is, we want to emphasize two points. First, nothing inherent in men leads them to rape women. […] Second, nothing inherent in sports makes athletes especially likely to rape women. Rather, it is the way sports are organized to influence developing masculine identities and male peer groups that leads many male athletes to rape.

The final sentence of that passage, saying that “it is the way sports are organized to influence developing masculine identities and male peer groups that leads many male athletes to rape,” implies that the structure of sports itself leads to the influence of young boys. Because children are impressionable, the sports they are signed up for as children creates an influence in their attitudes in life. A competitive nature begins and, while healthy competitiveness is good, competitions in other facets of life begin.

As Sabo writes in Sex, violence & power in sports: rethinking masculinity:

Organized sports provide a social setting in which gender (i.e., masculinity and femininity) learning melds sexual learning. Our sense of “femaleness” or “maleness” influences the way we see ourselves as sexual beings. Indeed, as we develop, sexual identity emerges as an extension of an already formed gender identity, and sexual behavior tends to conform to cultural norms. To be manly in sports, traditionally, means to be competitive, successful, dominating, aggressive, stoical, goal-directed, and physically strong. Many athletes accept this definition of masculinity and apply it in their relationships with women. Dating becomes a sport in itself, and “scoring,” or having sex with little or no emotional involvement, is a mark of masculine achievement. Sexual relationships are games in which women are seen as opponents, and his scoring means her defeat. Too often, women are pawns in men’s quests for status within the male pecking order. For many of us jocks, sexual relationships are about man as a hunter and women as prey.

In other words, a woman’s emotional and physical well-being is no longer considered at this point, and this type of dehumanizing behavior can empower male athletes to perpetuate a cycle of dehumanizing women. This behavior is not an inherent part of human nature, but rather a learned characteristic because of toxic masculinity disguised as team camaraderie.

The idea of dehumanizing women is not just limited to a male athlete considering women as his prey, but should also include fans of the sport—often whom have concerns about the sport they love.

A friend of mine, Christine Hopkins, who is a writer from Des Moines and a Giants fan, says she didn’t know about Sandoval’s sexual assault allegations until he signed the minor league deal with San Francisco last month. However, upon learning this fact, Hopkins had many thoughts about it.

“It immediately deeply troubles me to learn that because I’m a Giants fan,” Hopkins says in an email. “And not in an ‘ugh, my team’s gonna face the wrath of the horrible feminists’ or whatever trash people say when it comes to speaking up about allegations like this, but that it happened while he was a member of the team (or came out then? either way) and I didn’t hear about it, whether it was widely reported [by the media] and I just missed it, or whether it wasn’t widely reported and should have been.”

Hopkins says she has no problem abandoning fandom for a player, a team, coaching staff, front office, so forth when allegations such as sexual assault aren’t dealt with properly.

“While that might seem like an extreme reaction to some, I think it’s more extreme to purposely ignore it (because you love the team), or worse, acknowledge it and dismiss it at the same time,” Hopkins continues. “Because that speaks to a much larger problem that goes beyond sports, that people who report DV/sexual assault aren’t taken seriously. But at the same time it’s also a very sports-centered issue, because athletes who commit these offenses are very much able to get away with it, at the very least in the eyes of their fans.”

Women have been excluded from baseball, and many other sports, since the beginning, thus causing a greater rift in power structures between men and women. In addition, a woman’s concerns regarding baseball are often cast aside because it is not taken seriously. At BP Wrigleyville, Mary Craig writes, “For much of its early history, baseball was viewed as a sport belonging to the hard-nosed working class, a sport wholly unfit for women.” Albert Spalding, wrote the following in America’s National Game back in 1911:

Neither our wives, our sisters, our daughters nor our sweethearts, may play Base Ball on the field. […] Base Ball is too strenuous for womankind, except as she may take part in grandstand, with applause for the brilliant play, with waving kerchief to the hero of the three-bagger.”

The idea of gender roles and a women’s place heavily dictated how a woman should be a spectator for baseball, and for over a century there has been very little wiggle room in women’s exclusion. As a result, the power dynamic for men and baseball grew extreme, manifesting the idea of maleness and toughness. This also includes having the power to fly under the radar when accusations come out, just as Sandoval did.

Sweeping the problem under the rug only leads to more violent crimes happening, because it becomes accepted within the culture and the norm of baseball. Complacency leads to continued behavior in this instance. The fact that allegations have been coming for years means that it’s not a problem that has been eradicated.

To their credit, in August 2015, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association agreed on the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy. The policy has led to stricter suspensions, especially in instances of domestic violence. Four players have been suspended for domestic violence incidents — Aroldis Chapman, Jose Reyes, Jeurys Familia and Hector Olivera, who received the longest suspension, 82 games. But this agreement leaves much to be desired. Players caught using performance-enhancing drugs still face much longer suspensions, from 80 games to full seasons. And there are still other players, like Kang, who slip through the cracks, going unpunished. The fact that a positive PED test gets one suspended longer on average than breaking the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy shows that while MLB has made progress, there is still room to better align their priorities.

Character concerns for off-field incidents end up being viewed as less consequential in comparison to things that impact on-field performance, that athletes try to “move on” from the alleged incident. This line of thinking can lead many to argue that violence against women should be left to the courts, ignoring the impact it has on its fans. As a fan and a survivor of sexual assault, I feel as though the biggest concern teams have regarding players is their ability to play baseball. I can only speak for myself, but I was maddened to know that a team, especially one I spent many years rooting for, could easily dismiss allegations as they did when the allegations about Sandoval first surfaced. It doesn’t seem fair to many people that they get a redemption narrative while victims and survivors have to live with the consequences of their bravery for speaking out (i.e., being branded as the person to blame for the allegations). This line of thinking also harkens back to Spalding’s message about a woman’s place in baseball — that they aren’t important, while also telling young, impressionable male fans that domestic violence is okay.

By ignoring a woman’s concerns—or anyone’s concerns, really—regarding a ballplayer whose past contains sexual assault allegations, the power that men have to dictate what is important becomes extreme.

To be clear, I am not advocating a zero tolerance policy, because that is psychologically and sociologically not the best answer to violence against women, as referenced in a USA Today article regarding Reyes and domestic violence. The full quote reads:

Counter-intuitively, we don’t want sports leagues to have a zero tolerance policy. And the reason for that is if we would say that the first time your partner calls 911 your career is over, her risk of homicide shoots through the roof. Because he has nothing to lose and everything to lose at the same time. We’ve actually been advising the sports league to take a very swift, very robust approach but not to say that first-time and you’re out of it, your career is over because the pressure then on the victim not to call for help is massive. And we want them to be able to call 911. We need them to reach out for help.”

Thus, banning those who commit violent acts toward women and children isn’t the answer for MLB.

However, more certainly can be done. It cannot be left unsaid, nor should MLB just wait for players to reach out. The Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy states, “All players will be provided education about domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse in both English and Spanish at regular intervals.” This is a good step, but by the time players have reached the majors, habits have been formed, norms have been established. We need to start younger. It is not about teaching women (and transgender/gender nonconforming folks) how to resist. We need to teach young boys at a young age not to commit violent acts and why it’s wrong.

The are many avenues where Major League Baseball can step in and offer more education. Perhaps in at the  Little League, Pony League and Babe Ruth League levels, MLB could sponsor education about unhealthy competition and how to treat people with respect, along with teaching how unhealthy competition and lack of respect for people could lead to committing violent acts. Or  ballplayers could be required to complete instruction regarding violence against women and be warned every time someone is heard perpetuating the notion that violence against women is okay.

Growing tools for such an education are also important. To that end, I have created a database to track reported domestic incidents among professional and college ballplayers, one that I hope to fill in over time. It is a crowdsourced database, so feel free to add to it. Having this database will provide a helpful reminder that these incidents do not happen in a vacuum, and that they are not isolated.

Education is but one tool. Another, more powerful tool, is branding. MLB and other pro sports leagues are adept at building awareness for causes they trumpet, be it about cancer, military appreciation, or youth participation in sports. MLB has a Community website dedicated to the causes it supports. It would be fantastic if MLB could organize a campaign to talk about domestic violence, one involving players, and encourage teams to give a portion of their gate receipts on a specific day or days of the season to women’s shelters. Talking about domestic violence, bringing it more into the light, will help people better understand the sort of trauma victims go through, not just in the immediate aftermath of domestic violence, but for their entire lives.

No matter the solution, it is important to teach male athletes that women are human beings, worthy of the same respect and possessing the same rights as them. They must learn that women exist in their own right and are entitled to the same areas of society as men. Violence against women (and non-binary individuals) occurs largely due to a manufactured, perpetuated power dynamic, and so promoting equality is essential to reducing the culture of violence present in—and constructed by—society.

This is not about asking for a safe space. This is about reducing the number of potential traumatic events that can ruin a survivor’s life. This is about boys and men being better. Because they can be better if they try.

As a fellow writer once said about Lueke, “Apologies to those for whom these Josh Lueke tweets interfere with their enjoyment of a game, but the threat of sexual assault interferes with how a vast majority of women enjoy life.”

References & Resources


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Jen is a freelance writer. Read all of their writing on their website, and follow them on Twitter @jenmacramos.
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Brian L Cartwright
Guest
Brian L Cartwright

Jung-ho Kang is not currently serving a prison sentence. His DUI conviction in South Korea resulted in probation, for which he was denied a work visa to enter the United States.

Brian L Cartwright
Guest
Brian L Cartwright

*suspended sentence (which is in the headline of the linked source), but basically equivalent to probation. He is not in jail, and if he is good for a specified period of time the sentence will go away.

Paul Swydan
Admin

Right. Thanks Brian, good catch. We fixed that.

Dennis Bedard
Guest
Dennis Bedard
Wow!!! Another sad chapter in this website’s devolution into our modern form of mandated conformity, a/k/a political correctness. There is a rabid segment of our academic/cultural elite that wants to label every sport or activity that involves competition in its purest form as somehow populated by a Neanderthal mentality whose thought process needs to be regulated by people with superior intellects and sensibilities. Maybe I should just dust off my Penguin edition of Plato’s Republic from college or re-read the exploits of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Athletes are no different from society at large. More important, they are also innocent until… Read more »
Kevin B
Guest
Kevin B
Guest
Guest
Guest

Someone with an English degree prefers plural pronouns to refer to a singular person?

Also, the mention of transgender and non-binary makes me wonder how I can tell the difference between someone who is transgender and someone who claims it falsely. Similarly, how do I avoid mislabeling someone who is transgender but not sharing that information?

Joe S
Guest
Joe S

No, they’re using the singular “they”, which is a use of the word that’s existed, and been in continuous use, since the 1300s. https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/singular-nonbinary-they

Tallulah T.
Guest
Tallulah T.
“Also, the mention of transgender and non-binary makes me wonder how I can tell the difference between someone who is transgender and someone who claims it falsely.” Not sure what you’re asking here. Are you worried about people who are not actually transgender falsely claiming to be transgender? What would be the purpose of that? Is this something that happens? “Similarly, how do I avoid mislabeling someone who is transgender but not sharing that information?” Easy: ask people what pronouns they’d like you to use. Then use them. If you’re worried about offending someone by asking about pronouns, play it… Read more »
Guest
Guest
Guest

You wait until you are called a bigot, that’s when you know you’ve screwed up.

Joe S
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Joe S

Are… are you saying you don’t want to conform to the “pc” idea that it’s wrong to sexually assault someone? Because it’s easy to read your comment that way.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Right? I have a feeling this guy’s true opinion of women is interesting, to say the least.

crew87
Guest
crew87

Really wish these commenters that are always bemoaning the content at THT would make good on their promise to stop reading (or commenting, as I don’t believe he’s actually reading the article).

Thanks for this Jen, and good job!

Guest
Guest
Guest

You missed the part where she’s an assistant general manager for the indie ball Sonoma Stompers. So unless you also work for a baseball team I’d say she’s more qualified to talk on the culture of baseball than you are.

Guest
Guest
Guest

Sorry, where THEY are an assistant general manager for the indie ball Sonoma Stompers. Apologies for not using the preferred pronoun in the first place.

Guest
Guest
Guest

Lol I didn’t know indi-baseball made someone an expert on sports culture or locker room culture. It’s not to say that zers? They’re? …..Jen’s opinion is somehow invalid but let’s not guild the lily here.

Dennisdouchebag
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Dennisdouchebag

STFU Dennis

Bip
Guest
Bip

“as political ideology worms its way into American sports”

Do you know what else has wormed its way into American sports? Sexual assault, and a culture of prioritizing team success over the accountability of the assaulter and the well-being of the victim.

If it takes some politics to undo that, then so be it.

A Former Progressive
Guest
A Former Progressive

Prove it. This article sure as hell doesn’t.

Bip
Guest
Bip

It is only necessary to “prove” it in every article on the subject for those of you who stubbornly refuse to accept or research the “proof” for yourselves. Usually, when facts are established, they can be referenced without having to rehash every argument for the hard-headed denialists.

Do you also comment on math papers saying “prove it” every time someone references a theorem that someone else proved?

Guest
Guest
Guest

How has sexual assault wormed its way into sports? It’s not like in the golden era of baseball there was somehow zero sexual assault and this is all some new trend.

There are thousands of active players across all the leagues in baseball alone. Let’s not act like cherry picking a few bad actors over the course of several decades is somehow indicative of sports culture at large. That’s disingenuous at best, and discriminatorily reinforcing stereotypes at worst.(which is something that intersectional feminism is against.)

Matt
Guest
Matt

I bet you’re a blast at parties, dude!

Chris Hirschberg
Guest
Chris Hirschberg

Please stop featuring Familia pictures as thumbnails or featured photos in domestic violence articles. He didn’t attack or threaten his wife. Those are her words, and there was zero physical evidence on her body upon police inspection. She said he was “acting crazy” that night, which I’m guessing means yelling and possibly breaking stuff in the house. Journalists need to get it right regarding the Familia case.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

“Those are her words, and there was zero physical evidence on her body upon police inspection.”

Actually, this is completely false. From a New York Post article about the incident: “Upon their arrival, officers found Familia’s wife, Bianca — whose name was originally redacted from the incident report — with scratches to the chest and a bruise to her right cheek.”

Nice research bro! Also, Familia provided his middle name to police in hopes of the Mets not finding out about the situation. What a saint! Care to defend another POS? I’m waiting with baited breath. Moron.

LHPSU
Guest
LHPSU

Your case would be a lot more convincing if you didn’t include a bunch of cases that weren’t substantiated in court, then imply without any evidence that they were impeded by some conspiracy.

Article Reader
Guest
Article Reader

Someone didn’t read the article.

LHPSU
Guest
LHPSU

Someone needs to grow a fucking brain and understand that just because false reporting are rare doesn’t mean you get to lump convictions and non-convictions together.

Have you ever been convicted of rape? No? I guess you’re definitely a rapist then.

Tallulah T.
Guest
Tallulah T.

Why does this article bother you so much? What’s behind your angry response to it?

Also, it’s not “some conspiracy” that impedes sexual assault convictions (and indeed, prevents sexual assault victims from speaking up in the first place). The article is pretty clear what the reason is: a larger cultural problem of toxic masculinity and victim blaming.

A Former Progressive
Guest
A Former Progressive

“Toxic masculinity” and “victim blaming”

LOL well I guess we just say goodbye to due process and the courts because gay feminists feel threatened by traditional masculinity!

Tallulah T.
Guest
Tallulah T.

Nope, that’s not what we’re calling for. Where did you get that?

However, you do bring up an interesting point: “due process” means “fair treatment,” which, again, if you read the article, is one of the main points here. Victims all too often don’t get fair treatment.

https://www.rainn.org/statistics/criminal-justice-system

Most sexual assaults don’t even result in arrest, much less conviction or incarceration. Don’t you think that’s a problem?

A Former Progressive
Guest
A Former Progressive

If there frequently isn’t enough evidence to even make an arrest, let alone convict or incarcerate someone, how exactly do you propose to “fix” this? “Listen and believe”?

J.D. Bolick
Guest
J.D. Bolick
Tallulah T., it boggles the mind that you and the author don’t understand that blaming “toxic masculinity” is just the other side of the coin from “blaming the victim.” Harping on how men behave is no different from harping on how women dress. The notion that men have to be educated in order to prevent them from becoming sexual offenders is offensive and ultimately counterproductive. Toxic masculinity doesn’t have anything to do with evidence being handled properly. Toxic masculinity doesn’t have anything to do with reports being submitted and investigated properly. Toxic masculinity doesn’t have anything to do with DAs… Read more »
Brian L Cartwright
Guest
Brian L Cartwright
There are two topics at play here: What distinction do we make between the criminal justice system and employers enforcing morals clauses, and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Sports teams or any businesses are free to hire (or not) whom they choose and may consider the moral characteristics of said employee. However, law enforcement is most often better trained and equipped to investigate allegations in an attempt to determine the truth. Routinely employers have relied on the decisions of criminal justice, waiting for at a minimum arrest and more conclusively a conviction before acting. They don’t have to,… Read more »
Article Reader
Guest
Article Reader

Yeah the criminal justice system is perfect and infallible and showing extra caution because of 2-10% of cases of false reporting is much more necessary than the 90-98% that are true. Please won’t someone think of the poor male baseball players?!

Brian L Cartwright
Guest
Brian L Cartwright

Our criminal justice system isn’t perfect but I’ll let you suggest a better method. You’re saying that because 9 of 10 claims are true, too bad for the 10th guy because we’ll just assume he’s guilty too?

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

My method? We’ll wait until they pass. And someone with complete knowledge of what did or did not happen will make the ultimate judgement. And even if that person was found “not guilty” by some piece of garbage justice system that doesn’t have enough facts maybe, they’ll still face what awaits. That’s my method. Have any issues with that?

Jason Linden
Editor

In your entire response, there is no mention of the victims, who are telling the truth, based on the cited studies between 90 and 98% of the time. Assuming they are all lying (which is the default for many baseball fans) victimizes them further. And they’re going to be living with what was done to them forever already.

Brian L Cartwright
Guest
Brian L Cartwright

Jen covered that and I substantially agree. I asked that we try to avoid errors and consider that at some point the debt might be considered paid.

I recognize uncertainty. I’m neither assuming all are lying or that none are. Let’s examine each case, find the truth and act on it.

J.D. Bolick
Guest
J.D. Bolick
Jason, it is critically important for you, other readers, and the author to know that the studies referenced absolutely do not mean or even claim that sexual assault allegations are true “between 90 and 98% of the time.” Between 2% and 10% have been PROVEN to be false allegations, which is pretty close to the same range of percentages for sexual assault allegations that result in criminal convictions. The very, very vast majority of sexual assault allegations exist in a gray area where it isn’t clear if the accusation was absolutely true or absolutely false. I am disgusted when privileged… Read more »
Eric
Guest
Eric

Just wanted to say I agree with everything you said.

It’s disgusting every single time sexual assault happens. At the same time, when such a strong accusation is falsely made, the accused can face serious social and economic consequences for something he/she ultimately didn’t do.

I also agree that men should not and do not need to be taught that assaulting women is wrong.

A Former Progressive
Guest
A Former Progressive

Exactly why is it so offensive to claim all men need to be educated not to commit rape?

I mean, all blacks need to be educated not to commit robbery, right?

All Hispanic men need to be educated not to beat their wives, right? (I mean, just look at the evidence in this article: all of the wife-beaters are Hispanic!)

All Muslims need to be educated not to suicide bomb us, right? All Muslims need to be educated not to gang-rape 11-year-old girls, right?

What is so offensive about any of that?

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

I largely agree with you…but the “education” bit does need some clarification.

It’s not about telling people “Rape is wrong.” It’s about cutting down on these “gray area” incidents by making sure we have “gotta make sure I get informed consent” in the back of our minds during, say, a hookup with a stranger we met at a bar.

At the end of the day…sex shouldn’t be gray.

J.D. Bolick
Guest
J.D. Bolick

Again, I’m pretty confident in saying that every man already knows that having sex with anyone incapacitated is wrong and that having sex with anyone who has denied consent is wrong. It’s pretty mind-boggling that we actually have some universities utilizing what Dave Chappelle’s mocked as “the love contract.”

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

And the fact that you think I’m talking about “anyone who has denied consent” makes me pretty sure you don’t know what I mean.

A Sex Ed curriculum that teaches teenagers “Only yes means yes” (rather than “Stop if she says no” and “Don’t have sex with unconscious people”) helps reduce incidents that fall into that gray area you did a great job of describing.

I really think a big part of the problem is a lack of comprehensive sex ed outside of the sort of Ivory Tower we have on the coasts and in major cities.

J.D. Bolick
Guest
J.D. Bolick

CLS, I understood what you meant and was mocking the absurdity of it. The notion that explicit verbal or written consent is necessary before any sexual encounter makes the entire thing robotically silly. “Excuse me. I know we have been going at it for the last half hour but before penetration I need to receive your explicit verbal consent.” Really? Dave Chappelle mocked “the love contract” precisely because it’s such a clinical and strange way of approaching physical intimacy.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

Oh, I’m not saying it’s actually applicable to real life.

Neither is telling everyone to keep their hands back and shoot every pitch the other way.

You just want the thought in the back of an 18 year old’s head to be “Get the yes,” rather than “if she doesn’t say ‘no,’ I’m in the clear.”

Adam Halverson
Guest
Adam Halverson
I was going to post a reply on the potentially misleading information, regarding the prevalence of false reports, but you said pretty much what I wanted to say. Thank you very much for covering this important detail. “A review of research finds that the prevalence of false reporting is between 2 percent and 10 percent.” This statement suffers from a critical ontological error, and comes across as highly presumptive in tone – it should be revised, at least, to say that “a review of research finds that cases in which false reporting *has been proven* is between 2 percent and… Read more »
Guest
Guest
Guest

This is a well thought out response, we have to be clear with data, otherwise we muddle the point or even worse, draw and promote incorrect conclusions.

Guest
Guest
Guest

No one is saying that all purported victims are lying, but in a civilized society can’t just take people at their word and punish people because we don’t want to appear insensitive. We can’t form mobs with pitch forks and torches and go after people who are accused of crimes. Witch hunts don’t bring about justice.
I.E. Duke Lacross
Virgina Tech fraternity.

That said if someone comes forward with a rape accusation, you should take them seriously and make sure they get whatever help or treatment they need and let the police and D.A. take care of the rest.

Jason Linden
Editor
For everyone who might make the “he wasn’t convicted” argument: She gives you the false reporting statistics (which are more or less the same as the false reporting statistics for other violent crimes). False reporting is rare. For a myriad of reasons, convictions are MUCH harder to get, so you can’t really use the results of the justice system as proof that someone is innocent. For a community that is so obsessed with statistics, I’m always amazed at how easily many baseball fans discard them in these instances. (Okay, I’m not really amazed, but some folks must have some pretty… Read more »
Aaron
Guest
Aaron

You also can’t assume that the person is guilty, either. Even if false reporting is uncommon, there’s no telling which players are and aren’t guilty. A person is innocent until proven guilty, and that’s the way it has to be. Plus, celebrities might be bigger targets for false reporting because of their wealth.

J.D. Bolick
Guest
J.D. Bolick

Those statistics are for allegations that were proven to be false, they are not an accurate count of how many total allegations were false. You’re either misunderstanding or misusing the context.

zero is a percent
Guest
zero is a percent

All other arguments aside, 2-10% is in no way “rare” in this context. That’s 1 in 50 to 1 in 10 that are proven wrong. 1 in 10, with a possibility of more is staggering. If anyone is in need of more scrutiny, it is these people that take credibility from actual victims and transfer it to predators with false accusations.

Paul G.
Guest
Paul G.
We are a community that is obsessed with statistics, which is why we know that 2% to 10% false accusation range is not “rare” and certainly not “very, very slim” by any reasonable standard. If something happened 1 out of every 10 times, I would consider that to be a normal event that I should be expecting on a regular basis. Actually, I would consider 2% in the same way. Considering that a false accusation – just an accusation, not a conviction – can very easily ruin someone’s life that 10% number is, in fact, horrifying. How would you feel… Read more »
Karen
Guest
Karen

This is a great piece, thank you for writing it.

Mike
Guest
Mike

As a former athlete, I can definitely relate to using mental habits I developed in sports (coolness in competition, for instance) in relationships when I was a younger guy. Really insightful article!

Mike
Guest
Mike

Why is it “Baseball”, or any other employer, that bares the responsibility of investigating and disciplining individuals who may have or have not commit a crime? Isn’t there already a system in place? Are we comfortable with employers taking over this responsibility?

Jason Linden
Editor

Baseball has a interest in appealing to as many people as possible. Alienating half of the fan base (and then some) by putting players on the field who have done such appalling things and are thus impossible to cheer for is not good business sense.

Brian Kirk
Guest
Brian Kirk

But the question is why does baseball “need” to do this. Like a moral imperative. The end goal of all of this worrying about DV and sexual violence shouldn’t be making more money for billionaires.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

Use common sense. It’s not that difficult. Hiring someone simply because the justice system found them not guilty is a cop out. Plain and simple. It’s an excuse to hire someone that is going to win you games, ignoring completely that they’re probably a piece of trash. Well they weren’t found guilty right? Right? I mean, they’re all evidence actually points to them being a waste of space…. but you know, since the justice system found them not guilty I think I can sleep at night with hiring them. Sweet!!

John
Guest
John

This article, without providing any evidence that assault rates are higher in baseball than among the general population, should not have been published. It’s a series of anecdotes weaved together with appeals to emotion, and there is no point to any of it. Bad article, and HBT’s reputation is hurt by its publication.

Joe S
Guest
Joe S
Hmm… it seems like you have this article, which is an opinion/editorial-style piece about the issue of domestic/sexual violence in baseball, confused with a scientific article that attempts to quantify the exact extent of the problem (or maybe a systematic review of existing literature). I get it, it’s an easy mistake to make, since THT publishes all sorts of different works. I think if you re-read it as what it’s intended to be, though — a commentary piece written by an intelligent author with relevant experience as a fan of baseball, an independent-league exec, and a survivor — you’ll get… Read more »
John
Guest
John
The thesis of the article is that baseball has a problem with ‘toxic masculinities’, and probably should be doing more about it. Pointing out examples of baseball players who have done bad things is not evidence of a problem with toxic masculinities in baseball when there is no evidence showing that incidence rates are higher among baseball players. This article is analogous to finding a few examples of plumbers assaulting women, and then writing 3 thousand words on the toxic masculinity of the plumbing industry, even though I have no idea whether plumbers are actually more likely than non-plumbers to… Read more »
Jesse
Guest
Jesse

Your analogy doesn’t work: baseball players are far more visible/influential than plumbers, which makes their transgressions/ramifications more important.

John
Guest
John
Again, the thesis of the article is that baseball, specifically, has a problem with what the author calls toxic masculinity which fosters an environment that yields a concerning amount of assaults. The support offered for this argument is that some baseball players have assaulted people. My analogy is that finding that finding some plumbers that have committed sexual assault is not sufficient evidence that the field of plumbing has a problem with toxic masculinity. One might be inclined to argue that the impact of these assaults is different when committed by more visible figures, but that’s not what this article… Read more »
J.D. Bolick
Guest
J.D. Bolick

Well said, John.

Guest
Guest
Guest

That higher visibility that athletes have also made them much more likely to be targeted, which is why it’s all the more important not to editorialize this issue.

Tallulah T.
Guest
Tallulah T.
THT is a baseball site, so this article is about sexual assault among baseball players, not plumbers. Also, if you read the article, one of the main arguments is that sports culture (again, this is a baseball site, so Jen focuses on the sport of baseball) tends to exacerbate the dehumanization and objectification of women that’s already a part of how boys and young men are raised in our society. This quote from one of the book she references sums it up: “First, nothing inherent in men leads them to rape women. […] Second, nothing inherent in sports makes athletes… Read more »
John
Guest
John
The only question worth asking here is whether there is any actual evidence that baseball culture affects its participants in such a way they are more prone to committing these acts. Without that evidence, blaming baseball culture for crimes committed by men who happen to play baseball for a living is completely unwarranted. This article should have been written after someone showed a link between baseball and assault that goes beyond the feelings and intuitions of the author. No effort is made to get at actual truth here. Rather, the author had a conclusion in mind and set out to… Read more »
Brian Kirk
Guest
Brian Kirk

You’ve said everything I wanted to say. Reading the beginning of this article, I couldn’t help but be reminded of this: http://deadspin.com/what-do-arrests-data-really-say-about-nfl-players-and-c-733301399

We can learn two things from that Deadspin article. One, the NFL players, who have a worse reputation for domestic violence than MLB players, actually had a lower-than-average arrest rate for assault/battery. Even before accounting for socioeconomic status or age. Two, even a website that intentionally aims low can examine this issue in a way that’s actually helpful and instructive.

Richie
Guest
Richie

Actually, HBT’s very left-wing political activism is very much part of their rep. And rewards them with mucho mucho clicks every time they toss it out there. Like, well, this comment.

danny c
Guest
danny c
yes that’s mostly what feminism has been boiled down to in the last decade or so. blatant inaccurate statements pandered to women to drive up the viewership statistics of said gender. then media companies can turn around and sell their advertising spots for more money since women have a higher purchasing power then men. mainstream media has been doing this for years with conventional talking points that have been proved inaccurate (wage gap etc) yet they still plaster the same misleading info consistently. why? because it’s in their best interest to generate women’s viewership. Thinking sports don’t include women is… Read more »
A Former Progressive
Guest
A Former Progressive

Your arguments eviscerate the entire article, but that won’t stop THT from publishing another piece of wokeness with the exact same flaws next week.

Joel
Guest
Joel

I guess the question is — what does *baseball* specifically need to do about sexual assault? It seems to me that the ability of wealthy/famous/connected men to escape prosecution for their crimes is a much bigger issue than baseball has purview over.

You don’t directly make this argument, I would agree that baseball teams should be obligated to not interfere with prosecution of their players in any way whatsoever. Although in these examples I don’t see many cases of Tom Osborne-level obstruction of justice.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Thought provoking Jen.

Richard Bergstrom
Guest
Richard Bergstrom

Trump talked about grabbing/assaulting women then dismissed it as locker room talk. This is not meant to delve into politics but to be symptomatic of an issue in our culture that Jen is trying to address i.e. people do not take sexual assault seriously, and if something becomes a scandal, there seems to be more concern on the perpetrator, whether it’s someone who committed the assault or made the joke, than the people who were assaulted or offended.

Brian L Cartwright
Guest
Brian L Cartwright
I agree. Trump had switched to third person when he said “when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” We shouldn’t let some people get away with reprehensible behavior or otherwise treating people badly because they are stars. Athletes, from a young age, are often put on a pedestal, told they are special, and some/many then develop a feeling of entitlement. Whatever they want the expect to be given. I reckon this is true for most types of celebrities and for either men or women. Diva is a common term for what might be described… Read more »
JP
Guest
JP

One of the Rangers players named in last year’s hazing incident is Yohel Pozo who has been playing all season.

http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=650968#/career/R/hitting/2017/ALL

One of the other players was Rougned Odor brother. I don’t think the team or the media covering the team ever even publically addressed or wrote about the incident.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

That incident isn’t really relevant to this issue. It was male on male. It was just a weird, very bizarre hazing incident that would not take place in the U.S. It basically consisted of a group of players holding another player down and jacking him off. They were all laughing. Again, very strange, not really OK obviously…. Yes it is sexual in nature, but it is not male on female- nor is it violent- so I don’t feel like it belongs in this article.

OttoTheBum
Guest
OttoTheBum
Too bad this article didn’t come out 800 years ago; we could have been spared no small amount of grief. It’s widely known that baseball was invented on the cold Asiatic steppe 1200 years onto the common era. The new sport’s first transcendent star, the great fireballing lefty Genghis Khan, imbued by baseball’s culture of toxic masculinity, raped his way across half the world. The nascent sport matured and birthed the slugger with an eagle eye, Tamerlane. He played too much ball and the mid-east paid the price. We know the rest of the story, from conquistador/closer Cortez to the… Read more »
Kevin
Guest
Kevin

Lol what?

A Former Progressive
Guest
A Former Progressive

Boy, the Hardball Times turned into a hardcore left-wing shill site so gradually I didn’t even notice!

A Former Progressive
Guest
A Former Progressive
This is a fucking dumb article, which isn’t a surprise, because every piece of feminist/intersectional/Marxist dogma is fucking dumb and almost always for the same reasons: it doesn’t come remotely close to proving what it sets out to prove. What’s your evidence? Twelve ballplayers out of the thousands and thousands who’ve been in MLB/MiLB over the last 25 years MAY have been involved in a sexual assault? Wow what an epidemic, it’s a wonder there are any women left alive in the world, stay in your bunkers because the Kansas City Rape-Gangs are in town today! Twelve people involved in… Read more »
Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

Well…it looks like someone needs a safe space.

imachainsaw
Guest
imachainsaw

wow you really do need a safe space. thr subject of being critical of patriarchal society rattled your poor babyears so nuch you had to post a tantrum every 30 minutes. its ok.. youll be safe behind your computer screen, surrounding yourself in your misogynist echo chamber. just relax. step away from this article for a second, and get a new diaper.

A Former Progressive
Guest
A Former Progressive

Diaper, tantrum, safe space—are you a babyfur?

Argue the points, clown. How does this piece prove its thesis?

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

Dude, if you can’t see there is a common theme in ALL major professional sports of overlooking domestic violence- or violence in general, look at the countless second chances Michael Vick has been given- if the player can contribute to the team winning- you’re an idiot. That’s all I can really say.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

The Mike Vick comparison seems a little inappropriate, seeing as how he has never, you know, hurt a human being.

Or, for that matter, received “countless second chances.”

He received one second chance, and has made the most of it.

Guest
Guest
Guest

You have to back up a thesis with evidence, otherwise, it’s just another unsubstantiated opinion. That shouldn’t be too much to ask for?

RB
Guest
RB

I don’t really disagree with either the article or the headline but the conflation of domestic violence and sexual violence here (beginning with the headline and the choice of player to illustrate!) still strikes me as a pretty sleazy kind of disturbing sensationalism. And since in fact baseball seems to have a much larger problem with the former than the latter, emphasizing the latter, as if MLB were concealing a sex-trafficking ring or something, is probably a pretty bad rhetorical strategy as well.

Jeremy C. Young
Guest

A great article that provides a bracing look at the dark underbelly of America’s oldest professional sport. Thanks very much for writing this; hopefully it’s shared widely.

Evil Man
Guest
Evil Man

Yes, the “dark underbelly” of the evil masculinity of sports. I have a son and will be teaching him to respect women, and I will also teach him that masculinity is not a negative trait. By masculinity I mean the traits of courage, independence and assertiveness. Also, he will be taught to treat a lady like a lady. I am not sorry that this offends feminists who think that masculinity is some type of cancer.

Guest
Guest
Guest

It is odd that “masculinity” is only seen as a negative trait in men with XY chromosomes. It’s never portrayed as negative when being exposed or acted upon by FtM transgendered individuals, then it’s courageous and being true to themselves.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

Lol. That’s not masculinity. The traits you speak of- courage, independence, assertiveness- those are not unique to men. They are worthy traits of ALL people. Gender, color, it doesn’t matter. Your ignorance is… regrettable.

John Autin
Guest
John Autin
I did try to read this article, but the author’s lack of objectivity quickly became apparent and I could not continue. “When Sandoval re-signed with the Giants, the story again made its rounds on social media, and it became increasingly evident that the incident was far more significant than it originally seemed.” Yet, as far as I can find, the author neither listed nor linked to any facts or even conjectures that emerged from those social media “rounds.” (I’ll sidestep the whole question of how much truth ever emerges from social media.) The two linked news items on that story… Read more »
Dave
Guest
Dave

Thank you for this comment. I was thinking the same thing. Perhaps Ramos mistakenly left out pertinent information, but it seems intentional. We must honor those who have been sexually assaulted, by both punishing the perpetrator, and ensuring truth through objectivity.

N.Fister
Guest
N.Fister

This article is poorly written, for many reasons already touched on already in the comments section. It would behoove HBT to exercise better editorial control, unless their professional reputation is secondary to the clicks that come from publishing unsubstantiated and intellectually lazy drivel like this.

imachainsaw
Guest
imachainsaw

better eidtorial control meaning “dont bring up womens rights issues at all” cooooool boi

N.Fister
Guest
N.Fister

Better editorial control meaning something in the way of evidentiary standards in support of the claims made in articles published on their site. Those standards appear to be non-existent. You seem to think that my issue is with an article about women’s rights issues in baseball. It isn’t. My issue is with an article about women’s rights issues in baseball that doesn’t bother to establish support for the idea that there are women’s rights issues in baseball.

Paul G.
Guest
Paul G.

I am very confused why sexual assault and domestic violence are being used synonymously here. There is certainly overlap between the two offenses, but they are not the same thing. There is a great deal of difference between slapping a spouse in a moment of anger and systematically raping underage girls.

imachainsaw
Guest
imachainsaw

men exterting physical dominance over women in physical and sexual ways has a common thread…

Paul G.
Guest
Paul G.
But they are very different things as far as severity is concerned, in much the same way as getting into a fistfight is very different than shooting someone with a gun. Sexual assaults are considered serious crimes even at the lowest levels. Domestic violence can be as minimal as pushing someone resulting in no injuries, or acting in a rage that causes indirect accidental injury, or even performing something stupid that is potentially dangerous but not intended to be. When domestic violence gets to the point of sexual assault, the category has changed. This article spends a lot of time… Read more »
Dave
Guest
Dave

Good points, but sexual assault is not a male-specific offense either.

Brian
Guest
Brian

So I guess we should train little boys that they’re rapists from birth, thats the end game. To all you cucks who are with this….enjoy the decline.

imachainsaw
Guest
imachainsaw

maybe itll be more effective to end the “boys will be boys” mentality and instill in boys that they are to be held responsible for their actions

Brian L Cartwright
Guest
Brian L Cartwright
For better research I’d suggest adding more columns to your database. I know the file is new and more records will be added. I didn’t see Aroldis Chapman, which was a domestic violence incident where I don’t believe there was an arrest but he was suspended. I’ve read through the linked articles and would classify the events according to: MLB or not – of 14 current records, 10 MLB, 3 minors, 2 former players sexual or not – 8 are non-sexual assault (choking, punching, etc) of wife/girlfriend, 1 burglary with intent to commit sexual assault (of a stranger) and 6… Read more »
Brian
Guest
Brian

Stop mansplaining.

Julie dicaro
Guest
Julie dicaro

Can’t mansplain to the author. It is physically impossible.

Will H
Guest
Will H

Brian,

Wanted to say that I agree with this sentiment and also just wanted to say that as a reader of Bucs Dugout and having read many of these comments on this article that I really respect the analysis and insight you’ve brought to the table both places. Just thought I’d let ya know that your knowledge and intelligence are really appreciated!

Will H
Guest
Will H

Jen,

Great article and solid analysis. I’ll try to help with the database as well because I agree that having that sort of information out there is important. A lot of great insight here, and I agree that team culture in baseball and other sports can foster toxic masculinity, sometimes with terrible consequences.

A Former Progressive
Guest
A Former Progressive

By the way, according to recent CDC studies, 53%+ of all domestic violence victims are men, and they’re 40% of “severe” domestic violence victims as well.

https://www.yahoo.com/beauty/the-number-of-male-domestic-1284479771263030.html

The CDC doesn’t suggest where all this toxic femininity is coming from, but the obvious answer is that it stems from the oppressive feminist movement that regularly dehumanizes men in all fields of life.

In any event, we’d better start gathering databases to keep track of all these abusive women so that they and their employers can be held accountable going forward.

Aardvark
Guest
Aardvark

This is important. We need to identify the occupations of some of these abusers ASAP so that industries that promote this abuse can reign in their toxic femininity and teach women not to abuse.

danny c
Guest
danny c

don’t forget the report: “But among men reporting other forms of sexual victimization, 68.6% reported female perpetrators,” the paper reports, while among men reporting being made to penetrate, “the form of nonconsensual sex that men are much more likely to experience in their lifetime … 79.2% of victimized men reported female perpetrators.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/11/the-understudied-female-sexual-predator/503492/

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

Dude, did you read the full article?

The 79.2% number is from a subset of a subset of a subset of sexual assault victims.

Looking at the numbers provided, 84.2% of sexual assaults are committed by men, including 65% of assaults on men.

imachainsaw
Guest
imachainsaw
look at all the pissbabies in the comments that cant handle an article that puts the scope on the normalization of female abuse by wealthy and idolized men. they thought fangraphs was gonns be their safe space where they could pretend that men dont historically have systemic dominant position over women thanks to their insistence to look the other way and/or be given no more than a slap on the wrists for their violent behavior. some of them are boohooing about how men are also targets of domestic abuse as if they arent victimized by other men more often than… Read more »
danny c
Guest
danny c

look up women’s arrest and incarnation rates for committing violence. they get away with violent crimes SIGNIFICANTLY more than men do

Aardvark
Guest
Aardvark
Is it really too much to ask that Fangraphs not promote poorly-researched click-bait social commentary? If I want to be exposed to that, there are any number of internet gutters I can slum it in, left-or right-leaning. Fangraphs is a site about baseball, not a soapbox for someone’s social agendas. Or rather, I think that’s what most of its readers would like it to remain. I think a good part of its readership is made up of people with an analytical bent unlikely to be persuaded by anecdote and arguments stemming from emotion rather than fact. I believe that the… Read more »
Julie dicaro
Guest
Julie dicaro
How has no one mentioned the ridiculous quoting of Christine from Iowa about Pablo Sandoval. This is a friend of Jens who is not objective. They spend a lot of time going back and forth on twitter. It is no shocker that after Jen asked for opinions on king fu panda someone all of a sudden “remembered” a no nothing case from 2012. Also the idea that women don’t play baseball because they aren’t allowed is silly. Women don’t play at the professional level because they are not as physically gifted as men. No matter what all the pseudo scientists… Read more »
A Former Progressive
Guest
A Former Progressive

CHRISTINE FROM IOWA! I meant to mention how the author is just quoting her Twitter friend like that means anything to anyone, but there was so much other stupidity I didn’t even have time.

This is the state of feminist intersectional research: gab with your friends on Twitter about your religion, then quote them as some kind of authority.

Does THT even know how much of a joke they’re becoming with anyone who possesses the ability to think critically?

imachainsaw
Guest
imachainsaw

you paraphrased your own self to add an extra unessecary paragraph that introduced nothing new to your whining rant and talk about “we are dumber for reading this”
it seems to me you were pretty fucking dumb to begin with

J.D. Bolick
Guest
J.D. Bolick

This undisclosed conflict of interest is very troubling, so thank you for sharing it. The editors of HBT really need to comment about this issue, among the other criticisms raised by the commenters. Clearly this should never have been published in its current form.

Paul G.
Guest
Paul G.
I do have to quibble about women being blocked from playing baseball. There have been examples of women trying to play in the minor leagues followed by the local commissioner voiding the contract and establishing a de facto ban. The Hall of Fame mentions a couple of them in their women in baseball exhibit, most notably Jackie Mitchell who (probably) struck out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game. Kennesaw Mountain Landis voided that contract personally. There was an official ban in 1952. Given that, I am pretty sure that the ban is now functionally void. It… Read more »
Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

Melissa Mayeux is currently eligible to sign with an MLB team.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

Actually, we’re dumber for having read your comment. That quote by Spalding is about as sexist as you can possibly get…. of course women can’t play MLB, you ****tard. He’s advocating that NO girl can play. At ANY level. Like, no high school softball, nothing. The statement is a product of an ignorant time and an ignorant person. Kind of like yours, actually.

Adam Halverson
Guest
Adam Halverson
Professional baseball consists of all baseball leagues in which the baseball players get paid to play. Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States, but it is definitely not the only one. You have minor league baseball as well, which consists of affiliated baseball (rookie ball, A, AA, AAA), as well as unaffiliated baseball, which consists of leagues such as the Atlantic League, Frontier League, Can-Am League, and the Mexican League(s). Granted, players outside of MLB receive a relative pittance in comparison (many must work a second job to support themselves and their families),… Read more »
Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

I think you guys actually agree on this, haha.

Women are absolutely capable of playing baseball at the professional level, and several do so currently.

None are going to make the MLB anytime soon, but Julie’s claim is laughably ignorant, for the reasons you listed.

Adam Halverson
Guest
Adam Halverson
Ignorance is an inherent quality in every person – we’re all ignorant of something, but that doesn’t definitely prove a moral failing of some sort. Sometimes, it’s the tendency to generalize, or lack of understanding on some level. Let’s at least evaluate the sources of ignorance. Evaluating what Julie said: “Women don’t play at the professional level because they are not as physically gifted as men. No matter what all the pseudo scientists with their made up pronouns want you to believe that is a fact. If a woman was good enough to play they would play.” This statement is… Read more »
Adam Halverson
Guest
Adam Halverson

Corrections:

1. However, as is evident in Spalding’s statement, this fact has been taken to a biased extreme, and suggests that women cannot play baseball at all (which, of course, includes professional baseball) – I should have omitted the word “professional” in my original iteration of this part of my statement.

2. MLB is a subset of professional baseball, but professional baseball isn’t necessarily MLB. (In most cases in the U.S., it isn’t MLB.) – I originally omitted the word “professional” in the second instance of this word in my correction.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

Good looks.

The ad hominem was absolutely unnecessary, and destructive to the overall conversation we were trying to have.

john hinton
Guest
john hinton
The phrase that bothers me is “toxic masculinity”. This is not a male problem. Hear me out. Read the news any day and it’s becoming commonplace to read stories of female teachers sleeping with underage male students. Is this a problem of “toxic femininity”? The answer in both cases is no. The problem is that as a society we are losing, have lost, our humanity. We are driven by base impulses. In whatever form they take: sex, power, greed. We want to “genderize” issues and in so doing we continue to drive a wedge between people. Our problems aren’t male/female… Read more »
Adam Halverson
Guest
Adam Halverson
If there are any inconsistencies in my post, or if I took any portion of this article out of context, I do apologize in advance. I have worked on this for several hours. Feel free to reply constructively. While this article comes across to me as an important one that raises the awareness of domestic and sexual violence, which are issues that need to be confronted on various levels, and makes some good points, there are also some serious flaws in certain editorial choices, the wording within the article, and interpretation of the cited sources and data. I also touch… Read more »
John Autin
Guest
John Autin

This is a critical tour de force, Mr. Halverson. I admire your patience and diligence in calmly addressing the many points raised by the article, and its many flaws.

It is just such vetting that this type of article sorely needs before being published, but rarely gets. I find it sad that THT cannot apply the same rigorous standards that we routinely expect of purely baseball research.

Adam Halverson
Guest
Adam Halverson
Thank you very much for your kind words. I try my best to address issues like these in a concise and comprehensive manner, that seeks to leave nothing I’ve said open to interpretation. It is all too often that articles about social justice, in general, contain subtext and implications that have the potential to create undue bias and encourage destructive actions and dialogue. While I give the author the initial benefit of the doubt that they mean well and have good intentions, there are some times where it is clear that a certain agenda or view is being advanced, that… Read more »
A Former Progressive
Guest
A Former Progressive

Just so we’re clear, Title IX-style enforcement of sexual assault cases are what feminists are ultimately angling for with articles like these, discarding due process, creating kangaroo courts, and frequently forcing the defendants to prove that they’re NOT rapists, the complete inversion of Western law dating back for centuries.

And this is what it gets you. (Bonus points: from the lefty-friendly NYMAG)

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/08/a-bizarre-usc-case-shows-how-broken-title-ix-enforcement-is.html

John
Guest
John

Great article. The reaction to it is hilarious. Idiots.

MM
Guest
MM

Unless the presented facts lead me otherwise, I’m going to side with those that are accused, and will do so until they are proven guilty.

Cliff
Guest
Cliff
You mention accusations against 12 players. Of these, three were convicted or pled guilty to something, and another three are up in the air, leaving six players (including Sandoval) who were accused but either not charged or acquitted. What are these six doing in your article at all? Don’t we have a presumption of innocence in this country? As I recall, the Giants held Sandoval out of games until he was cleared, After that, there was no reason for him not to play. And I haven’t heard of (and you don’t mention) any other charges against him, either before or… Read more »
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