Surveying the Field: When Baseball Lets You Down

Trea Turner is one of a handful of MLB players who have had offensive tweets unearthed recently. (via David King)

Major League Baseball has a fraught, and often disappointing, relationship with diversity and inclusion. Throughout the league’s history, it has had moments when it served as an important catalyst for progressive societal change, with integration acting as the most powerful and enduring example. But while these moments revealed baseball’s potential as a force for change, the game has also ignored and marginalized parts of its fanbase. Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier 71 years ago; MLB’s approach to social progress since then could best be described as halting. Whether through neglect or outright hostility, and despite more recent efforts to proactively recognize include diverse communities, the league, its clubs, and players have often failed to make the ballpark equally inviting to all fans who wish to cheer on the home nine. In the past several weeks, we’ve seen that enmity take a new form–one that is very much a product of its time, yet is still rooted in age-old bigotries.

It started during the 2018 All-Star Game, when Josh Hader’s racist, homophobic, and sexist tweets from 2011 and 2012 were uncovered following a relief appearance in which he gave up a three-run home run that put the American League ahead.

It’s not the first time a ballplayer’s unsavory tweets have been unearthed. For instance, after being selected by the Rockies in the first round of this year’s draft, Ryan Rolison had to apologize for a tweet from 2012 expressing a desire to see President Barack Obama assassinated. Hader’s case seemed different, though. Many were struck by both the sheer volume of tweets Hader had sent and their profoundly offensive nature. And of course, there is the fact that Hader is currently one of baseball’s top relievers.

Speaking to media after the game, Hader offered the following explanation for the tweets:

“You know, it was something that happened when I was 17 years old. As a child, I was immature, and I obviously said some things that were inexcusable. That doesn’t reflect on who I am as a person today, and that’s just what it is. Obviously, when you’re a kid, you just tweet what’s on your mind, and you know, that’s what’s on.”

Both Major League Baseball and the Brewers released statements on the matter, with MLB calling the tweets “unacceptable” but noting Hader “took the necessary step of expressing remorse for his highly offensive and hurtful language.”

The Brewers offered similar sentiments, calling the tweets “inexcusable,” while also asserting Hader has taken responsibility for them and claiming that they are not “representative of his beliefs.” Hader received no punishment from the Brewers. MLB mandated that he undergo sensitivity training, which includes meeting with MLB’s ambassador for inclusion—and one of the few openly gay former players—Billy Bean. In his first appearance after the discovery of his tweets, a mere four days following the All-Star Game, a Miller Park crowd gave Hader a standing ovation.

Hader was far from alone in his indiscretions. Following the incident, tweets from a number of other players surfaced that contained similarly hateful language. Each revelation followed a familiar pattern, from the nature of the tweets to the responses of Major League Baseball and each player’s team.

It’s very easy to track down old tweets; all one has to do is run a simple search for certain words or phrases. In this age of social media, both current and future players have spent the majority of their lives on platforms such as Twitter, sharing jokes and memes, and potentially, using hateful language. As we look ahead to baseball’s future, it seems inevitable that we will see similar tweets uncovered, and watch as other players are called to account for their behavior online. These incidents carry very real stakes for the league, its players, and just as importantly, its fans.

When confronting Trea Turner about his tweets, Nationals manager Dave Martinez reportedly told the shortstop, “You hurt people. Real people.”

It may seem obvious, yet it’s something that appears to have gotten lost in the shuffle: Even when slurs aren’t directed at a specific person or levied against a member of the group it’s intended for, they cause real harm to real people. And it is these real people—people of color, women, and LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual) fans, not to mention those whose identities traverse those demographic boundaries—whose voices are most crucial in the conversation surrounding the bigoted words and Twitter misdeeds of major league baseball players. We sought out several such fans, hoping to give room to their voices and understand how it feels when something you love so profoundly fails your community and your fandom.

Baseball’s history, both ancient and all too recent, is rife with bigotry, from banning black players and women to the decades it took to phase out a racist caricature like Chief Wahoo. As one LGBTQIA fan put it, bigotry among ballplayers is not “any more pronounced in MLB than in any similar demographic segment of society.” But at a time when MLB is touting its efforts to better include historically marginalized fans, the recent incidents involving players’ tweets have left fans from those communities wondering how they truly fit into the picture.

This recent string of incidents has left many marginalized fans not angry as one might expect, but disappointed and tired, worn down by the prospect of facing slurs every day.

The Worcester Red Sox and the Problem of History
As the Red Sox prepare to move an affiliate, Pawtucket stands to lose more than just baseball.

“It always seems like there’s a reminder that I’m not exactly a first-class fan in the eyes of baseball and I’ve known this for a while now,” Baseball Prospectus contributor Demetrius Bell said.

Bell’s sentiments are echoed in a lot of fellow fans’ minds.

“Reading these tweets made by athletes I admire and get paid to play a sport I love, and then seeing people, fans, defend them makes me feel unwanted, hated, and sometimes even targeted,” a queer Latinx fan, who preferred to remain anonymous, said. “The league needs to set the tone and say they will not accept this from its players. Fans have been banned for yelling racial slurs at players before. I can see that that isn’t the same situation, but sensitivity training? Really?”

Another LGBTQIA fan noted that, “None of the offenders have come out and truly proven to me that they’re different, that they’ve changed, that they’re willing to open a dialogue and work on the problem within their sport.”

“When MLB started announcing some Pride nights, I was so excited for my sport that I almost cried, but honestly…I don’t think I’m comfortable going,” the LGBTQIA fan said. “I’m not sure the environment at an event like that would be safe for me.”

Even those who are not usually the target of animosity, such as a queer lifelong Yankees fan, Mitchell, who defines himself as a “cis white dude in a straight-passing relationship,” have begun to feel the effects of baseball’s bigotry.

“I’m…not entirely used to feeling excluded the way I’ve been feeling from MLB lately,” Mitchell said in a direct message.

The recent exposure of players’ past bigoted tweets has made it “a luxury to be overlooked,” according to Ami Li. But even those who can separate themselves from a particular marginalized group, who have the “luxury” of being straight or cis, find themselves outraged by the scope of this bigotry.

“It’s honestly exhausting to see hateful words paraded about and then have teams willfully ignore domestic violence charges and other issues of makeup in their pursuit of players,” Li said. “As someone who presents as straight, cis, and Asian in a diverse city, it’s very easy for me not to feel targeted, and that’s my privilege. It’s a luxury to be overlooked, you know? But I guess it’s not beyond the pale to feel awful about the words and actions being either tacitly or overtly justified by the league even when I specifically am not part of that population.”

For this generation of fans, it has perhaps never felt more apparent that Major League Baseball, as one POC fan said, “is not inclusive, it does not reach to have strong cultural awareness, and it frankly has spent its entire existence speaking to the thoughts, feelings, and reactions to white life.” Like many of us, these fans have often used baseball as an escape from the “real world” but now find themselves being forced to find that escape elsewhere, in more inclusive environments.

Many of the complaints from marginalized fans begin with MLB’s seeming dismissiveness of acts of bigotry from its players, organizations, and fans.

“The old guard seem to act like they want their cake and eat it, too. They want pride nights and an outreach program for black youth in baseball, but they also abhor the idea of pissing off any single white male fan even a little bit,” Kristin, an LGBTQIA fan, said.

MLB’s perceived hierarchy of concerns has frustrated many. Following Braves’ announcers Joe Simpson and Chip Caray calling the Dodgers unprofessional for wearing t-shirts during batting practice and the Nationals designating Shawn Kelley for assignment for throwing his glove, one queer POC fan asserted that “it’s just very telling where the priorities are for baseball, which is maintaining the old and harmful status quo in ways all around.”

Others directed the bulk of their frustration at what they view as the inadequacy of the players’ apologies. Most frequently, the three dozen fans we spoke to pointed to the fact that each of the players’ initial apologies failed to mention the specific groups harmed by the slurs. What’s more, the players did not demonstrate how it was they came to live more accepting, inclusive lives.

“We keep hearing ‘I regret it’ and ‘my teammates know the man I am’ but not ‘I’m so sorry to the communities that I hurt and offended with my remarks,’” Hannah, an LGBTQIA fan, said. “There hasn’t been any direct acknowledgement of the LGBTQ+/POC communities, and at least to me, that’s what really hurts the most.”

In many of these cases, the burden of white players’ bigotry has fallen disproportionately on their teammates of color, who find themselves asked far more frequently than white players about such matters. Both Lorenzo Cain and Jesus Aguilar, Hader’s teammates and players of color, spoke about his tweets, asserting that Hader has been a good teammate and they want to put the incident behind them. When Hader held a press conference a few days after issuing a tearful apology to his teammates, each of his teammates of color–Cain, Keon Broxton, Eric Thames, and Jeremy Jeffressstood behind him, implying that the POC community should find his ‘apology’ adequate.

These perspectives obviously are important; one wouldn’t want to center white voices in conversations on racism. But focusing so much of the coverage on players of color creates pressure on them to absolve their offending teammate and can lend the impression that policing and correcting racism is the exclusive province of players of color rather than one that teammates share.

Of the white players in the league, only the Cubs’ Jon Lester and Nationals’ Sean Doolittle have publicly condemned the bigotry shown in players like Hader’s tweets. Both took to Twitter to do so, with Lester first urging players to scrub their accounts of bigoted tweets and then spending several hours discussing the issue with fans who wanted a stronger response from him. Meanwhile, Doolittle tweeted that “there’s no place for racism, insensitive language or even casual homophobia” in professional baseball.

These small actions on behalf of Lester and Doolittle did not go unnoticed.

Erin, an LGBTQIA fan who took Miller Park off her bucket list due to the standing ovation Hader received there, said that seeing Lester and Doolittle’s tweets, said that seeing their tweets “made me feel like at least someone cares.” Yet the actions of Lester and Doolittle also highlighted the dearth of similar responses from other players.

This failure to more thoroughly address and publicly atone for bigotry extends beyond the players and the league. Each of the players whose tweets have surfaced has spoken of growth and change, but that sort of change and understanding of harm done rarely happens absent accountability. But aside from Martinez, Bean, Lester, and Doolittle, this role remains largely unfilled, at least in public.

The lack of accountability extends to reporters, who have failed to ask the right questions of these players and their white teammates. As one closeted fan pointed out, who uses baseball as an escape, “I wish reporters asked what changed these players’ mindset after they said these things, or if they changed at all.” And of course, it also extends to fans, from those who gave Hader a standing ovation to the ones defending these players on social media.

Fans never can know exactly what occurs behind closed clubhouse doors, which is why these public failings are so painful and so worrisome. What else do we have to go on?

If anything is clear from all of this, it’s that to this point, MLB still has work to do in handling this issue. So what could it do differently in the future that would be more effective and impactful?

Many fans suggested players could reach out to organizations representing the marginalized communities they’ve offended and donate to them, providing sincere apologies “to each and every community they embarrassed.”

Others want Major League Baseball and teams to go further, fining or suspending the players. As these tweets all occurred prior to the players being drafted and becoming employees of Major League Baseball, assigning them more stringent punishment is not so straightforward. Yet, as Fangraphs’ Sheryl Ring discussed in an excellent piece on the matter, “while there was a cap on fines for off-field behavior, unpaid suspensions for off-field speech, even speech unrelated to baseball, were not in violation of the CBA…there is ample precedent to support a suspension” for these players.

As with any issue of bigotry, there is no quick fix, and any type of punishment also has potential drawbacks. Speaking both specifically about punishments and more generally about forms of animosity toward marginalized people, one LGBTQIA fan, determined to not let bigotry “win” by driving them from the game, raised an aspect of the issue that often has been overlooked in discussions.

“I feel like vilifying the players who made the tweets is just putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound,” the LGBTQIA fan said. “It doesn’t get at the root of the problem, and it almost gives a pass to the players who harbor the same bigoted beliefs but are smart enough to delete their tweets or not tweet in the first place,” referencing Lester’s tweet.

Other solutions that move the obligation from the individual to Major League Baseball are preferable in the eyes of some marginalized fans. Several fans to whom we spoke brought up the idea of mandatory Pride Nights, Black heritage nights, and other events specifically designed to recognize and celebrate the contributions of diverse players, fans, and communities to baseball, and to tell the histories of those communities’ inclusion (or exclusion) in the game, even when that history is painful or unflattering. Though many teams have these events, they are often contained to a small section of the ballpark. Instead, inclusivity should be the overwhelming theme of these nights and of every baseball season.

There is also the opportunity for MLB to become proactive in combating bigotry. Rather than assign sensitivity training to players whose bigotry has been made public, MLB should institute more expansive annual sensitivity and diversity training for every player and executive. In doing so, not only would every player receive the same message, but the training would be viewed less as a punishment–something that impedes the player’s job–and more as an opportunity to improve the working environment and foster greater levels of cooperation between players of different backgrounds.

Moreso than their peers, marginalized fans understand the connection between baseball and political life. For too long, this connection has been used in service of bigotry rather than as a tool of dismantling it. It’s time to change that.

“Baseball is a huge part of American culture,” another LGBTQIA fan said. “If [MLB] makes the LGBT community part of the game, it’ll become part of the culture.”

Above all, marginalized fans just want Major League Baseball to prioritize creating an inclusive environment. The punishments and apologies do not need to be perfectly executed from the outset so long as Major League Baseball and its players show sincere and sustained care for their marginalized fans, employees, and teammates. This care for diversity must extend to actively seeking out diverse employees in all areas of Major League Baseball, a goal Rob Manfred has stressed since his becoming commissioner, but one that’s promise remains unfulfilled. Only when marginalized groups are placed in positions of influence will it be possible to truly stamp out the various -isms we have seen young players so casually bandy about.

Beyond the obvious moral failings, the issue carries with it real stakes for the league’s future. There is no telling how many players or potential executives have foregone MLB careers because of the environment that can permeate the game’s dugouts and dusty back fields. There is no telling how many players and fans have remained closeted because they’ve understood they will not be accepted for who they are. There is no telling how many members of marginalized communities will shy away from baseball in the future.

It takes a community willing to be relentless-and relentlessly patient-to undo the damage done and strike out toward something new. Luckily, Major League Baseball—despite a tarnished history and deep and persistent disappointments—has one of those communities. The people who reached out to us to provide their input for this piece, the fans who routinely assert that bigotry is unacceptable, and those like Doolittle who hold their teammates and co-workers accountable, together they strive to make baseball a place of acceptance and diversity. There is no one way forward for baseball, but a path has begun to appear thanks to this community, as BP’s Rachael McDaniel told us.

“As much as baseball’s problems are systemic, and as much as we have to continue to publicly critique things like the Osuna and Chapman trades when they happen, I see a lot of hope in the way the discussion has evolved over the past few years, and in the way it will continue to evolve,” McDaniel said. “Change will never come unprompted from the top. Change will come from us, and I believe in us. I believe in this community.”

It’s time for Major League Baseball to listen to these voices and to rise up to meet its fans in their commitment to inclusivity. It’s a mantle baseball has willingly assumed before; it would be a shame to see them turn their backs on it again.


Jen is a freelance writer. Read all of their writing on their website, and follow them on Twitter @jenmacramos. Mary Craig is a PhD student in political philosophy and American constitutional politics. She is overly attached to Massachusetts and spends her time baking, watching hockey, and reading and writing about baseball history. Follow her on Twitter @marymcraig.
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Dennis Bedard
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Dennis Bedard

Billy Martin must be laughing up in Heaven this morning. This article is the most absurd piece of of so called journalism that this site has ever produced. Baseball has now become politicized to the point where it has to make accommodations for men who get off on dressing up in mini skirts and high heels. What we have here is totalitarianism. The goal is not diversity but conformity. And what in the name of God does “Intersex” mean? Hey, baseball is a game. Leave it alone!

Yehoshua Friedman
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Yehoshua Friedman

I don’t know, Billy Martin always struck me as one who would prefer to be in Hell.

sledridge
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sledridge

“What we have here is totalitarianism. The goal is not diversity but conformity. ” – This is hilarious. Totalitarianism and conformity? By what? Not bowing and conforming to your ideals? You’re literally arguing for totalitarianism and conformity to you ideals. When someone doesn’t meet them, you want them ousted. This “intolerance of intolerance isn’t tolerance”-argument is ridiculous.

GreekGodofGreek
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GreekGodofGreek
The argument, even if it was not well applied by DB, is not ridiculous. When esteem for tolerance is motivated by value relativism (all value positions are equally ungrounded, therefore universal tolerance is the only rational moral principle), a vacuum of moral value is created and the only thing left to fill it is tolerance, all others having been undermined. All the world’s evils are then compressed into the category of intolerance and whoever is thought to be intolerant becomes scapegoated and targeted, although the demonization of groups was supposed to be the one thing a morality of tolerance would… Read more »
Johnston
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Johnston
“Billy Martin must be laughing up in Heaven this morning. This article is the most absurd piece of of so called journalism that this site has ever produced. Baseball has now become politicized to the point where it has to make accommodations for men who get off on dressing up in mini skirts and high heels. What we have here is totalitarianism. The goal is not diversity but conformity. And what in the name of God does “Intersex” mean? Hey, baseball is a game. Leave it alone!” Well said and true, but the Left will attack you for posting it.… Read more »
Antonio Bananas
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Antonio Bananas

If you think that being decent to your fellow human beings is a political platform, then maybe you need to rethink your politics.

csw117
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csw117

Oh, and “Baseball has now become politicized.” Military flypasts? Politicians throwing out the first pitch? “God Bless America?” Sports have always been political. When you say ‘politicized’ you mean “I don’t like these political views.

Johnston
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Johnston

“Military flypasts? Politicians throwing out the first pitch? God Bless America?”

Showing respect for your country is not political. Anyone who thinks otherwise thinks that outright anti-Americanism is a legitimate form of politics, and it’s not.

sledridge
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sledridge

“outright anti-Americanism is a legitimate form of politics, and it’s not” – What?

csw117
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Member
csw117
“Billy Martin must be laughing up in Heaven this morning.” Martin was a vile little scumbag. It’s not a good look to associate yourself with him. “[M]en who get off on dressing up in mini skirts and high heels.” Your characterisation is so tediously old-fashioned and lacking any attempt to engage that you are plainly commenting in bad faith. “What we have here is totalitarianism.” Yes, life is tough for us straight cis men. Those LGBT+ people have it so easy. How dare we be expected to show respect to others? That’s what Stalin would do. “The goal is not… Read more »
GoNYGoNYGoGo
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GoNYGoNYGoGo

Honest question, meant with all due respect. What does cis mean? The author used it and I have no clue, and google led me to a path about molecules.

One thing about the proposed PRIDE nights: to me, sounds like pandering.

Spahn_and_Sain
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Spahn_and_Sain

Cis- is the antonym of Trans- and has been since the days of Caesar.

Pennsy
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Pennsy

Name one other public-facing industry with zero openly gay members

rhswanzey
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Member
rhswanzey

“Name one other public-facing industry with zero openly gay members”

US Congress for about 95% of its existence, for one..

LHomonacionale
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LHomonacionale

Right and now are there multiple openly LGBTQ members in our federal congress but in most state and many local governments as well.

rhswanzey
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Member
rhswanzey

There have been 52 women in the US Senate – total – since its inception.

In “Lisa Goes To Washington”, Lisa tells a congressional page that there are two female senators at the time it aired. Seems like that should have been a hyperbole joke, but it wasn’t!

Tanned Tom
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Tanned Tom

The goal is for all people to be treated with respect. When people defend hate speech, which is what you are doing, they create a space for bigotry and violence. As for leaving baseball alone, should we go back to the all-white days, or the non-DH days, or no night games at Wrigley, or no televised games – I mean just how stuck in the past do you want to be?
And why does another person’s life and rights threaten you anyway?

David Ducksworth
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David Ducksworth
I agree. Unfortunately, when someone such as Daniel Murphy says essentially the same thing, believing in showing love and acceptance to a person even with disagreement with their lifestyle, he is bashed as “homophobic”, and accorded no respect whatsoever. I have no issue with an LGBTQ+ ballplayer, and think any sort of ban would be ridiculous, just as the racial bans were. ( I also think you’ll have a hard time finding someone actually advocating for one.) Showing actual respect, though, even to the scary concept of respectful diversity of opinion, would be rather nice. (You’ve got me on one… Read more »
Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro
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Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro

Saying you disagree with a gay “lifestyle” is not expressing love and acceptance. It’s expressing that you think certain people are less worthy of rights than anyone else. Respecting discriminatory opinions is not the same as tolerance.

BTW – Not “hav[ing] an issue” with an LGBTQ+ person being a ballplayer is less than the bare-ass minimum you can do, as well. How about: LGBTQ+ are equal human beings who deserve all the same rights and courtesies as straight, cis people?

David Ducksworth
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David Ducksworth

Sure, I’ll sign right onto that statement. LGBTQ+ people are equal human beings, deserving the same rights and courtesies as anyone else. Not too difficult, no?

Now, the question is whether you’re willing to sign onto tolerance and diversity meaning-and this can be difficult-actually tolerating a diversity of opinion.

If you wish to be intolerant, to openly say that anyone who so much as disagrees with you is automatically unworthy of respect, then feel free to take that position-but don’t expect someone else to show “equal courtesy” when you deny the same.

Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro
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Member
Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro

No, I’m not willing to sign onto believing that it’s ok to believe that being LGBTQ+ is not acceptable. Just the same as I’m not willing to sign onto being black, white, Asian, woman, or otherwise is not acceptable. Tolerating hate is not tolerance. Not too difficult, no?

David Ducksworth
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David Ducksworth
Then, once again, you’ve jumped off to a conclusion, or a strawman, more accurately, instead of addressing the point. Murphy, as I noted, made his position very clear: Love and accept the person, disagree with the lifestyle. The equal response would be disagreeing with Murphy’s opinions and his choice to express them, while, in his own words, loving and respecting him as a person. Going a step beyond that would be to disagree with Murphy’s opinions, and consider him a bad person, not to be loved, because of them. The third step that you have taken is to declare Murphy… Read more »
Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro
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Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro

This is an insane false equivalence and I will not stop fighting it. “LGBTQ+ people deserve equal rights and should not be subject to approval of someone else’s religion” is not an equal and opposite opinion to “LGBTQ+ is not acceptable.” Just the same as “black people are not equal to white people” is not an equal and opposite opinion to “black people are equal to white people.”

Neither your opinions against LGBTQ+, nor Murphy’s, are not entitled to equal respect to: LGBTQ+ are no different than anyone else.

David Ducksworth
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David Ducksworth
If you wish to take up a position of intolerance and discrimination on the issue, declaring that disagreement with your opinion is unacceptable and unworthy of respect or tolerance, then by all means, feel free to do so. Honesty on the issue is refreshing. Actually replying to the other’s point in a conversation, though, instead of repeating a strawman claim after it was just pointed out that you were evading the actual point made in favor of your own strawman, would be appreciated as well. Murphy openly he could and would accept LGBTQ+ persons. I happily repeated your offered line… Read more »
Johnston
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Johnston
The Supreme Court ruled that there is absolutely no such thing as “hate speech” in Matal vs Tam. That concept is just a Leftist club used to beat on anyone who dares to disagree with the current consensus on the Left. “A law found to discriminate based on viewpoint is an ‘egregious form of content discrimination,’ which is ‘presumptively unconstitutional.’ … A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all.“ (SCOTUS, Matal vs Tam) Anytime someone uses the term “hate… Read more »
Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro
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Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro
This is an incredibly strained reading of Matal. What SCOTUS said was NOT that there is no such thing as hate speech. What they said was more like “Gov’t does not have the authority to arbitrate hate speech.” Hate speech exists even if you can’t be arrested for hate speech. Your argument is similar to the classic argument made by many people with bad opinions, which is: “I have the first amendment right not to be criticized for my incredibly bad opinions.” Just because racist, hate speech does not subject you to arrest by the government does not insulate you… Read more »
adrock75
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adrock75
Baseball was a game when black players weren’t allowed. Branch Rickey didn’t just make a personnel decision when he brought in Jackie Robinson–he also made a political decision (that helped his team win). It’s no surprise that there are already a bunch of comments that can be boiled down to “It’s okay that baseball is still, to a significant degree, racist and sexist. How dare you try to make it better!” I am not sure how making baseball a more enjoyable viewing (and playing) experience for a bunch of marginalized groups equates to totalitarianism, but I guess equality is threatening… Read more »
radiohead
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radiohead

This article is a complete waste of space. Stop wasting our time.

Johnston
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Johnston

“This article is a complete waste of space. Stop wasting our time.”

Well put. It was a complete waste of time AND offensive.

csw117
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Member
csw117

Thom Yorke hates you.

Pennsy
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Pennsy

This matters to me. Tell me it doesn’t.

Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro
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Member
Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro

Says the guy who wasted more time complaining about it

Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro
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Member
Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro
Great post and so important. One of the things that drew me to baseball as a kid was that I saw how Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, and Roberto Clemente (among others) were such powerful cultural forces by virtue of a combination of baseball’s status in popular culture and their own excellence, decency, and grace. I always thought it was neat how a game could be fun and a mechanism for social good. Of course, as a kid, I was maybe more optimistic about how I thought those guys fixed everything. It’s unfortunately clear that despite their efforts, we still have… Read more »
Green Mountain Boy
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Green Mountain Boy

Sorry, but I never thought of Chief Wahoo as a *racist caricature” – I thought of him as fun entertainment. That’s like saying Milwaukee should get rid of Bernie Brewer because he’s offensive to alcoholics or that the Three Stooges should no longer be shown because they give imbeciles a bad name.

And no, I am neither a racist nor a homophobe, although I recognize that such people exist. I’m just someone who wants to be left alone rather than be indoctrinated by the PC crowd. Live and let live.

Johnston
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Johnston

“And no, I am neither a racist nor a homophobe, although I recognize that such people exist. I’m just someone who wants to be left alone rather than be indoctrinated by the PC crowd. Live and let live.”

The entire point of Leftist advocacy journalism is to write propaganda, to indoctrinate readers, and to limit what people can write or say in return. “Live and let live” has literally no meaning to these people. They want control, and they mean to have it.

Green Mountain Boy
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Green Mountain Boy

Well said, Johnston. You’re absolutely right and I couldn’t agree with you more.

Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro
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Member
Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro

Live and let live does not mean accepting discrimination.

The dead kennedys had a tune for a certain kind of punks that believed they deserved an equal seat at the table…

Jetsy Extrano
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Jetsy Extrano
Rahul Kumar
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Rahul Kumar

When your first reaction is to compare Native Americans with alcoholics and imbeciles, that says a lot about you.

Green Mountain Boy
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Green Mountain Boy

When YOUR first reaction is to troll me for separate examples that you conflate in your puerile mind, that say a lot about YOU.

CubsMLOrNah
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CubsMLOrNah

I can see how it can be seen as racist but my best friend is a Native American and his favorite team is the Indians. He was ticked when they announced they were getting rid of Chief Wahoo so for his birthday I got him a bunch of Chief Wahoo memorabilia.

Selection bias, I know, but food for thought.

johnforthegiants
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johnforthegiants

I was going to say something like this. Indians who actually live in indian communities on reservations.have no problem with calling teams indians or braves (or xalling themselves indians instead of native americans). Try going to the cherokee reservation on the east entrance to smoky mountain national park and asking people there if they like the atlanta team calling themselves the braves and helping out their souvenir business.

Tanned Tom
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Tanned Tom

The unspoken aspect of this is the significant difference in fan demographics between baseball and the other main sports. Only Nascar is whiter, or more culturally stuck in the past. If you think it’s okay to make fun of someone, or exclude them, or be hateful of them for non-behavioral parts of their identity, then look in the mirror because you are what’s wrong with this country and this sport.

Pennsy
Member
Pennsy

As a queer fan I think it would be great if the Dodgers and Athletics would acknowledge and apologize for chasing Glenn Burke out of baseball if we’re going to be asking players to apologize for past comments. Neither team has ever done either.

Matthew
Member
Matthew

Get over yourself. You aren’t a victim, and you aren’t oppressed. This has absolutely nothing in common with what Jackie Robinson went through, how dare you even bring him up in this.

Get a life, be happy. I can’t imagine how miserable someone must be to write such nonsense. Get help please.

Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro
Member
Member
Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro

Imagine being this angry and then telling other people to get help?

shirley temple of doom
Member
shirley temple of doom
Thank you for this great piece. It is not a waste of space to write about this topic. It is not absurd to compare fights for representation in the past to current ones. It is not overly PC (or SJW or whatever other way people pearl-clutch about this topic) to say “I love this thing and I wish it was a bit more respectful in some of its attitudes and here’s why”. It is not any of the other things that people like Dennis Bedard, Radiohead, Matthew, etc have said here. It’s useful and interesting and worth the time to… Read more »
mgwalker
Member
Member
mgwalker

I suspect the high-water mark came in 1999: no twitter, no god bless america, and john rocker broadly condemned (and suspended by MLB) for ignorant comments. I miss it!

David Ducksworth
Member
David Ducksworth
After reading for a while, I actually made an account just to comment on this. I expect to get some flak, and that’s all right, maybe it’ll actually lead into a discussion. However, the premise behind this article is a frankly ridiculous one. I could type much more than this, but I think I’ll illustrate my point with an example. I’m not the most succinct of fellows, so it may run a little long. The New York Yankees were set to be the only MLB team not to have an LGBTQ+ “Pride Night”, something that was apparently important enough to… Read more »
RayTSB
Member

There are tons of openly Christian baseball players. They mention it on their social media accounts, they mention it in interviews and they show it in their celebrations on the field. The only instances when Christian players, like Murphy or Berkman are supposedly discriminated against are when they voice opinions that are criticial/discriminatory towards other communities.

Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro
Member
Member
Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro
This is a false equivalency. The position that “gay people are wrong and deserve less rights than straight people” is not entitled to equal treatment to “all people of all sexual orientations are deserving of equal treatment.” You do not “love” or “accept” someone if you tell them that they are fundamentally wrong. The opionion that people who are not strictly cis and/or Hetero are less worthy people is entitled to no more consideration the “opinion” that the earth is flat. And future generations will laugh at it just as we laugh at those who believed in a flat earth
GreekGodofGreek
Member
GreekGodofGreek

Yep. Whether future generations will laugh at something is the true measure of moral value.

rhswanzey
Member
Member
rhswanzey
Who among us is pledged with the right to decide what is and is not okay for someone else to think? Of course there is a line somewhere where someone’s rights and well being are threatened by the words of another. I don’t understand why I have any right to decide what Daniel Murphy ought to think. I guess it is fair to criticize his words as something off a contradiction, but I don’t understand why that response ought to be ostracized. I don’t think it’s our place to judge religious views if it’s not causing harm to others. I… Read more »
JohnHavok
Member
JohnHavok

Rational thoughts like this have no place anymore unfortunately.

Johnston
Member
Johnston

If you really want to kill baseball, then just keep on advocating that it be politically correct. That will kill it stone dead.

Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro
Member
Member
Don Zimmer will have his revenge on Pedro

Ha! Wait wuuuuttt? Being decent to LGBTQ+ is what’s gonna kill baseball? Ok

johnforthegiants
Member
johnforthegiants

I’m jewish and if hader had made a lot of neo-nazi antisemitic statements in 2012 when he was 17 and then in 2018 said what he said about the statements he did make, i’d say that’s good enough for me, let’s move on.17 year olds say and do all kinds of dumb things that don’t have anything to do with the kind of oerson they become.

John Autin
Member
Member
John Autin
Hader might truly be a different person now … and so might each of these guys who gets “caught” with such a record, and then — only then — says the same damn thing. I’d be pretty naive to take any one of them at their word, though. They lost the presumption of “innocence.” And their contrition is always team-orchestrated. Call it youthful indiscretion if you choose. And yes, I said plenty of cringe-worthy things at 17. But given the sheltered path most white American MLBers tread from late teens on up, I tend to wonder what life experience would… Read more »
johnforthegiants
Member
johnforthegiants

I guess i have some kind of informal criteria for deciding whether or not someone’s disclaimer is sincere, based on the age when they said the racist things, how much time has passed, and how the disclaimer is worded. It isn’t an exact science but it’s based on 62 years of dealing with antisemitism and common sense. There are different ways that disclaimers can be worded, some sound more sincere than others, and to me hader’s sounded sincere.

bluerum29
Member
bluerum29

Exactly. What someone said as a kid many years ago does not determine the person they are today. Much ado about nothing.

Schwartz
Member
Member
Schwartz

This is a great article and well-written. Thanks for putting this all together. If THT wants to be a voice on issues such as these, you’re moving in the right direction. Keep it up!

ojcarrasco
Member
ojcarrasco

Nevermind

ballz1220
Member
ballz1220
Shocker that the two amigos who spend all day having a circle jerk on twitter complaining about white people wrote an article complaining about white people. Honestly not sure how they can watch a baseball game without finding a million problematic things. This being on the front page is why people are dropping subscriptions. Also love their silly commentary on the brewers. We get “don’t ask black people to talk” while at the same time white voices shouldn’t be centered. Lol not to mention they assigned a plantation style mindset to Aguilar Jeffress and Cain. It’s amazing when you have… Read more »
LHPSU
Member
LHPSU

I’ve never understood why people demand apologies for intentional behavior. If you’ll forgive them after they apologize, you’re an idiot and deserve to be wronged. If you won’t forgive them, why demand an apology?

Nicholas
Member
Member
Nicholas

Great article, thanks

Las Vegas Wildcards
Member
Las Vegas Wildcards

Offensive tweets are offensive tweets, regardless of who says it, or the group targeted by the hateful rhetoric. Recently, the NY Times hired someone who advocated for the genocide of another race, among other racist comments. And that individual wasn’t 17 years old, either.

Yehoshua Friedman
Member
Yehoshua Friedman
Let’s say I am a member of a pretty small minority group in the world, although where I live I am not unusual. Members of my group include some pretty rabid baseball fans. There is not one member of my group in MLB and though I have fantasies of it at times I don’t expect there will ever be. MLB would have to restructure itself significantly to include certain minorities because it would conflict with the quality of play by a team which would have such people as players on the field. Yet I am a baseball fan. I don’t… Read more »
the_MADler
Member
the_MADler

Anybody else skim the authors at the beginning and accidentally see “Marc Carig?”