There was another baseball Ethics Hero who emerged on the last day of the regular season yesterday. File it under “Sportsmanship.”
Houston Astros secondbaseman Jose Altuve (at less than 5′ 5″, the shortest athlete in a major professional sport) began the day hitting .340, three points ahead of the Tigers’ Victor Martinez, who was at .337. Even with all the new stats and metrics showing that batting average alone is not the best measure of a baseball player’s offensive value, a league batting championship remains the most prestigious of individual titles, putting a player in the record books with the likes of Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, Rogers Hornsby, George Brett, Ichiro Suzuki and Tony Gwynn. It’s still a big deal. If Altuve didn’t play in Houston’s meaningless last game, Martinez would have to go 3-for-3 to pass him, giving the DH a narrow .3407 average compared with Altuve’s .3399. By playing, Altuve would risk lowering his average, providing Martinez with a better chance of passing him.
Many players in the past have sat out their final game or games to “back in” to the batting championship, rather than give the fans a chance to watch a head to head battle injecting some much-needed drama to the expiring season. ESPN blogger David Schoenfield recounts some of those episodes here.
Altuve, however, gave Martinez his shot. He played the whole game, had two hits in his four at-bats, and won the American League batting title the right way—on the field, not on the bench. (Martinez was hitless in three at bats.)
The conduct, simple as it was, embodied fairness, integrity, courage, respect for an opponent, and most of all, respect for the game.
Ray Rice’s punches are love taps compared to the ones Chris Brown throws at HIS girlfriends…
CBS Sports pulled pop superstar Rihanna’s intro to Thursday night’s NFL game between the Ravens and the Steelers following the public release of a video showing Ravens running back Ray Rice beating his wife, then-fiancée, in a casino elevator.CBS said it did this to “maintain a proper tone,” which was a euphemism for “What we don’t need is to begin a nationally televised NFL game featuring the team that just dumped its star running back because this video shows how incredibly blase the league and the team had been about the fact that he cold-cocked a women with a performance by a pop singer who epitomized the enabling domestic violence victim until Janay Rice arrived on the scene.”
In case you have forgotten, in 2009, singer and recording star Chris Brown was charged for a violent attack on Rihanna, during which, the police report says, he bit her, slammed her head into a car radio, and punched her in the face multiple times. Rihanna then re-united with Brown, announced that she was planning on recording a duet with him. She also refused to agree to a restraining order requiring Brown to keep away. Both performers had received two nominations for Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards before the incident, and they both planned on attending, giving young girls a wonderful lesson about how they should stand by their man even after he breaks your face. (Brown was finally persuaded to withdraw.) The two actually did reunite at least once, in 2013, while Brown was still serving his probation for the first incident. Continue reading
Psst! The “thumbs up” really means, “I like your shoes”…
In case you missed it while waiting for the next NFL player to beat up someone, Hillary Clinton, who is in Iowa theoretically testing the waters for a Presidential bid, answered this way when pressed by an activist on the rope line to give her views on President Obama’s delay of his promised executive order granting some privileges to illegals…
“I think we have to elect more Democrats.”
What did she intend to convey by this, and can such an intent possibly be defended? Some possibilities:
A. Translation: “I am running for President, and to be successful, I can’t possibly tell you my real views on this topic, since whatever position I take will lose votes. So I’m going to answer with a non-sequitur, as if I didn’t hear the question.”
Is this ethical? No. It’s an important issue, and if she is running for President, she has an obligation to communicate her views. If she has a position but doesn’t have the integrity and courage to communicate it, that’s cowardly and a breach or responsibility.
B. Translation: “We risk losing at the polls in November if voters know what the President really intends to do, and those who stand to benefit from his unilateral act circumventing the democratic process will vote Democratic anyway, even if the delay infuriates them. So it’s the smart move.”
Is this ethical? Surely not. It’s an admission that the President is trying to gull low-information voters, and that she approves of the strategy. It’s an expression of support for allowing the deportation of human beings for speculative political gain. It’s an endorsement of “the ends justify the means.” Continue reading
“At least Rice didn’t kill anyb…wait, we kept that player who killed somebody, didn’t we? Now what?”
This is hilarious, tragic, idiotic or infuriating, I haven’t decided yet.
The NFL and the Baltimore Ravens, having made it absolutely clear that they really weren’t all that upset with the fact that star Ravens running back Ray Rice cold-cocked his soon-to-be-wife in a hotel elevator (and since she dropped charges against him and married her assailant, she wasn’t all that upset about it either) because he received only a two game suspension from the league and no added penalties from his team, suddenly got really determined to make a statement against domestic abuse once the security camera video of the incident became public today.
Now that it has—they always knew the video existed—-the NFL has re-punished Rice, and the Ravens have released him.
Translation of the message this sends: Continue reading
You must remember this: A kiss can be a miss…
Sportswriters are gamely putting a positive spin on it, but they are lying or deluded: Michael Sam’s failure to make the St. Louis Rams squad and the subsequent decision of every other team (there are 32 of them) to pass on his services as well means that Sam’s quest to become the first openly gay player to be drafted by and make the roster of a pro football team was not just a failure, but may have even set his cause back a year or ten.
Or maybe that wasn’t his cause at all. Maybe a gay player whose skills left him a borderline draftee at best made a calculated decision that his best chance was to shame the NFL into drafting him by announcing his sexual orientation, and gamble that he could shine enough in camp to make the team. The genius of this strategy, if that’s what it was, is that even if he didn’t make the team, Sam would become a celebrity, and in some circles, an icon.
Well, that part worked. What doomed the rest of the plan were, in order of importance,
- Sam isn’t good enough to be a trailblazer.
- The media made certain that such a big deal was made over Sam’s sex life that no NFL team could avoid wondering, “How much will having this guy around get in the way of winning football games?” From Ethics Alarms in February:
The irony is that it is the mostly positive media obsession with Sam’s status as a potential trailblazer, rather than the anti-gay hate-mongers, who diminish Sam’s chances of success with their every word. This is obvious, or should be, yet the articles and rants keep on coming. I have to believe that it is a case of sports journalists engaging in the ultimate hypocrisy, making themselves look fair, unbigoted and devoted to the cause of full gay inclusion in American life (all while making their deadlines) while simultaneously and knowingly undermining the athlete they claim to be supporting. They have to shut up, or Sam is doomed.
They couldn’t help themselves, of course, and sure enough, Sam was doomed. Continue reading
Sure, you have a right to think there’s something wrong with that, but the state has no business acting as if it thinks so too.
Because Judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit Court was appointed by Ronald Reagan, he is usually describes as a conservative judge. He’s better described as an unusually smart, articulate, thoughtful and courageous judge, and in responding to oral arguments lawyers for Wisconsin and Indiana defending their state’s marriage bans, he proved it.
I have frequently attempted to draw a distinction between those guided by archaic religious morality that causes them to regard same-sex marriage as sinful, and the attempt to use the government, which must not be guided by religion to make such marriages illegal. Morality doesn’t have to be defended by logic—God works in mysterious ways, you know—but laws do. A complete evisceration emanating from a place of authority of the specious and often absent reasoning behind gay marriage bans was much needed, and knowing that he risked criticism as a “judicial bully” for doing so with gusto, Judge Posner came through.
Here is a sampling of the barrage he placed on Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher and Wisconsin’s assistant attorney general Timothy Samuelson: Continue reading