Pineda-Pine Tar, Part II: Baseball Clarifies Its Bizarro Ethics Culture

bizarro_world-baseballYou shouldn’t have to appreciate, care about or even understand baseball to find illumination in its latest ethics controversy, which shows how cultures can go horribly wrong, precluding exactly the values that any functioning entity must embrace to remain viable and healthy. For someone like me, to whom Baseball is Life, the whole thing just makes me want to jump out the window.

You will recall that a couple weeks ago, the sport embarrassed itself by making excuses and accepting lies regarding New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda being allowed to break the game’s rules against pitchers applying foreign substances (in this case, pine tar) on the baseball while pitching to the Boston Red Sox. I wrote about it here. I interpreted the post-incident consensus of the game and its pundits as “everybody does it, so let’s not make a big deal over a little infraction on a night when it was abnormally cold and hard to grip the ball.”  That’s unethical enough, but the truth, as revealed in Part II, is far worse.

Last night, fate had Pineda on the mound against the Red Sox again. Baseball’s ethics had already begun falling apart in chunks when Sox manager John Farrell, asked about whether he expected Pineda to cheat again (for that is what using pine tar on baseballs is—cheating. Official Rule 8.02 states: “The pitcher shall not apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball.” ) answered that hopefully, if he did, he would be more discreet about it. Huh?

But Pineda was not discrete; in fact, he could not have been more obvious, or ridiculously so. After a rough first inning in which he gave up two runs, Pineda emerged from the dugout with a large, brown, greasy gob of pine tar on his neck. On TV. In nationally broadcast game. Against the same team that he was caught using pine tar against before. In that team’s home park.

In the Red Sox dugout, Manager Farrell and the team were laughing and rolling their eyes. Farrell finally shrugged, and walked out to complain to the home plate umpire, for it is an automatic ejection for a pitcher to be caught doctoring the ball. The umpire dutifully walked out to the mound—he had to have seen the offending gob before Farrell complained—and to add to the foolishness, checked Pineda’s glove, cap and jock strap before looking at the huge brown smear on his neck. Finally he did so, said, “That’s pine tar!” (in the previous game, Pineda told the press it was “dirt”) and threw him out of the game.

In subsequent interviews with Farrell and others, the explanation that emerged was this gibberish: “everybody” uses something to grip the ball better when it is cold (and often when it isn’t); hitters don’t mind because they don’t want to get hit. Pineda’s offense wasn’t that he used pine tar, but that, as Farrell suggested before the game, that he was “blatant” about it. That gave Farrell no choice, you see….even though his own pitchers also use foreign substances to grip the ball (in unequivocal violation of a baseball rule), and this sets his team up for “retaliation.”

I feel like I’m going crazy. Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Journalism & Media, Sports

Comment of the Day: “Ethics Quote of the Week: Justice Sonia Sotamayor”

Here is Chris Marchener’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethics Quote of the Week: Justice Sonia Sotamayor”: and the ongoing debate it has sparked here:

I am not a lawyer. do not play one on TV, nor did I spend the night in a Holiday Inn Express last night. BUT, my understanding of the decision was that the SCOTUS would not overrule the will of the electorate, who, after reasoned debate on the issue, voted to amend its state constitution to state unequivocally that no person shall be granted a preference based on some genetic characteristic, belief, religion, etc. Isn’t that what we are striving toward? They did not strike down nor address the merits of affirmative action.

I get Jack’s point that Justice Sotamayor’s dissent was not based on Constitutional law and was reflecting her own biases regarding race and gender.

Outside of this decision, there is no doubt that some people in this country have a cultural aversion to people of other races, nationalities, genders, lifestyles, Such aversions apply equally to all genders, races, nationalities etc. on a global scale. In the US. such personal aversions must not be a criterion for employment decisions, educational, or other economic opportunities.

To Mr. Green’s assertion, “You mean racists are the ones who talk about racism? How is that not like blaming the victim? This is a pernicious, evil lie – that the victims of racism are in fact the cause of racism because they have this nasty habit of pointing out the unpleasant fact of racism’s existence” : The evil lie is that racism and gender discrimination remains an institution perpetrated by white males such that all benefits inure to them within the economy of the US. Therefore, such institutional racism must continue to be addressed through the very means that created unequal opportunities in the first place. I have stated in earlier posts that any group that demands perpetual preferential treatment by virtue of race, ethnicity, gender or some other factor is guilty of the same institutional bias that we seek to overcome.

In Justice Sotamayor’s words  “Race also matters because of persistent racial inequality in society…” What does this mean? Does it mean that every race be identical in population size? Does it mean that income distribution within the racial sub-segment reflect the income distribution in the majority demographic? Or, does it mean that everyone has an equal chance based on persistence, education and intellect?

This is same Justice that said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,”

Blatant racism if we switched the nouns, And why just white men?

Later she said, “Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences,” she said, for jurists who are women and non white, “our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.” To this I do not disagree. However, the difference does not mean that better decisions will be made just different decisions. If we accept the premise that physiological or cultural differences are acceptable biases in judicial rulings then no culture, race, or national origin is inherently racist. She cannot say that white European physiology or culture is inferior for is she does then the logical conclusion is that all others are cultures and genders are superior to the white European culture which is a racist statement.

She continues, “And race matters for reasons that really are only skin deep, that cannot be discussed any other way, and that cannot be wished away. Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter the neighborhood where he grew up.”

To that I say, Why can’t they be discussed in any other way? I cannot wish away what others think, I can only think for myself. Why do you feel the need to tell me how I think and feel? Why does the young man sense the tension of others when he walks by? Are the passerby’s truly in a state of tension or has such hypersensitivity been planted within him through the rhetoric of those “leaders” who amass great wealth and power rationalizing every perceived slight as evidence of racism. We need to tell children that they can be anything they want provided they work hard in school and apply themselves. If we continually tell them the majority is against them and they have no chance without government protections then they will simply fail to strive for greatness, reinforcing within them the sense that majority society is against them. This is exactly what the self-described champions of racially equality seem to want. If it is not then I challenge them to try alternative tactics to get my support.

However, because there has been past injustice and we feel that we must compensate those affected by such injustice, we must ask who should pay the price for past injustice and for how long. Is evidence of economic disparity the only means to determine evidence of racism; I think not. It takes individual effort and if that effort is not forthcoming then failure to achieve is not evidence of racism. For those that advocate for affirmative action, should only the sons of whites who had the misfortune of being born into lower and middle-income American families bear the burden of reparations? I don’t think that the sons of well-connected whites suffer from being denied employment in favor of a greater, equally, or lesser qualified women or minority candidate as a result of ensuring affirmative action plan goals. Nor do I think that the daughters of many well to do citizens have ever faced any form of discrimination in their lives.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Family, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, Rights, U.S. Society

Ethics Musings On The Guy With “MURDER” Tattooed On His Neck….

 

Hey! Cool tattoo, dude! Just don't get caught actually murdering someo...oh. Bummer.

Hey! Cool tattoo, dude! Just don’t get caught actually murdering someo…oh. Bummer.

Jeffrey Chapman, who is soon to stand trial for first degree murder in Great Bend, Kansas, wants to remove the giant tattoo that spells out the word  MURDER around his neck, believing that it will prejudice the jury against him.

Ya think?

The judge will allow Chapman to have the tattoo removed before the trial, it appears. There is precedent for this: in Florida, in 2010, a neo-Nazi charged with hate crimes was permitted to have the hate-related tattoos on his face and neck, including a swastika, covered up by a professional make-up artist. It was paid for by the state, naturally.

Observations:

  • I suppose this is the necessary and fair decision by the judge. Lawyer-pundit Alan Dershowitz made some interesting points regarding the Florida case, however, suggesting that the swastika and other tattoos were an extension of tattooed defendant John Allan Ditullio’s character, and covering them could be construed as misleading the jury. “He is alleged to have attacked people on the basis of sex orientation and race. The court has the chance to make its rulings based on whether the tattoos are relevant to the case,” Dershowitz said. “It depends on what the prosecution is trying to prove. If they are saying his Nazi ideology drove him, then you could argue that seeing the tattoos is relevant.” Dershowitz noted that his tattoos were obviously the way he chooses to present himself publicly. “It’s not like the swastika was on his rear end,” he said.

Continue reading

19 Comments

Filed under Character, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, U.S. Society

Ethics Quote of the Week: Justice Sonia Sotamayor

Sonia_Sotomayor

“Race matters. Race matters in part because of the long history of racial minorities’ being denied access to the political process…Race also matters because of persistent racial inequality in society…And race matters for reasons that really are only skin deep, that cannot be discussed any other way, and that cannot be wished away. Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter the neighborhood where he grew up. Race matters to a young woman’s sense of self when she states her hometown, and then is pressed, “No, where are you really from?”, regardless of how many generations her family has been in the country. Race matters to a young person addressed by a stranger in a foreign language, which he does not understand because only English was spoken at home. Race matters because of the slights, the snickers, the silent judgments that reinforce that most crippling of thoughts: “I do not belong here.” In my colleagues’ view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination. This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable.”

-—-Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotamayor, dissenting in the case of Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative, Integration and Immigration and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary, in which a 6-2 majority ruled that Michigan voters could ban race-based preferences at universities without violating the Constitution.

This screed was remarkably unprofessional for a Supreme Court Justice, an emotional recitation of unsupported assertions, perceptions and complaints with no constitutional relevance. Sotamayor, you may recall, was nominated by the President in the midst of a public debate regarding the importance of “empathy” on the bench, code for “we need more women.” But the Constitution is supposed to be interpreted by principles of law and legal reasoning, not from “the heart.” Well, we clearly got the empathetic Justice he wanted, for better or worse. Continue reading

88 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Quotes, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, Rights

Noted: A Familiar Debate Over At Slate

battle-marvel

Those who participated in the epic, star-studded battle in February here, led by the departed Bruce Bartup, over what are acceptable levels of intensity and personal attack on Ethics Alarms, will experience some nostalgia reading this debate on Slate about the website’s policies. My favorite line: “…if someone is a dick, and we’ve explained that he’s a dick, why shouldn’t we also call him a dick? He’s earned it!”

If you missed Bruce’s Lament and the terrific donnybrook it generated (sadly, Bruce took his bruised feelings and went home to the British Isles, though I urged him to persevere) can read his Comment of the Day and the responses to it here.

___________________________

Graphic: kiss my wonder woman

7 Comments

Filed under Etiquette and manners, Journalism & Media, The Internet

The Supreme Court Delivers An Ethical Opinion On Democracy, Affirmative Action, and Fairness

Good work, SCOTUS!

Good work, SCOTUS!

In SCHUETTE, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MICHIGAN v COALITION TO DEFEND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, INTEGRATION AND IMMIGRATION RIGHTS AND FIGHT FOR EQUALITY BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY, the U.S. Supreme Court just affirmed, 6-2, Michigan’s right to ban state affirmative action programs. The decision was narrow, not taking up the issue of affirmative action itself, but rather affirming the right of the citizens of the state to ban it at the ballot box.

You should read the decision  here, and not let journalists distort it for you.  My favorite quotes: Continue reading

42 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Education, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, U.S. Society

Pop Ethics Quiz! What’s Wrong With This Picture?

speeding bullet

No, you don’t have to spot the mistake, now.  That’s too easy. The single, embarrassing mistake in this ad created for Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun group Everytown For Gun Safety is so obvious I’m pretty sure there are 5th graders who could spot it. A bullet doesn’t come out of the barrel with its casing. There would be no way to propel such a projectile. This ad couldn’t have been created or approved by anyone who ever fired a gun, saw one fired or watched a  Western, war movie or action flick.

The unethical conduct represented by the ad, however, are more numerous, though equally unforgivable:

  • It is incompetent and lazy. No one connected with the ad and its graphics bothered to do the minimum due diligence necessary to find out what a bullet coming out of a muzzle looks like, or how guns work.
  • It is untrue. Actually, anyone is faster than that bullet, which would drop harmlessly to the ground.
  • It negligently misinforms the public, passing along the ignorant misconceptions of the group and its hired artist to people who know as little as they do.

Continue reading

17 Comments

Filed under Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Marketing and Advertising, The Internet