The Ethics of Bigotry, Part III:Tom Yawkey’s Red Sox Racism, and How Not to Prove It

Tom Yawkey owned the Boston Red Sox for four decades and his wife Jean owned them for one more; it is accurate to say that he was the most influential individual in the storied team’s existence. Yawkey bought the team in the mid-Thirties, after it had suffered through one of the worse stretches of awful play on record, sparked by an earlier owner’s fire sale of its best players, including Babe Ruth. Yawkey ran the Red Sox with an open checkbook and a stated objective of giving the city of Boston the best championship money could buy. Soon the once-pathetic team was fielding all-time greats like Jimmy Foxx, Joe Cronin, Lefty Grove, and a brash young phenom named Ted Williams. By the time Yawkey died in 1976, the Red Sox had one of the largest, most loyal and fanatic fan bases in sports, and the team was entrenched in New England culture. Boston remains properly grateful, and the re-naming of the street outside Fenway Park “Yawkey Way” is no perfunctory tribute. (The names of Yawkey and his wife Jean are spelled out, vertically,  in Morse Code on the famous hand-operated scoreboard on Fenway Park’s left field wall.

The Red Sox came close, but they never won that World Championship under Yawkey.  One of the primary reasons was that the Yawkey way was racist. Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Week

“People seem to listen to you more when you’ve got a bagful of cash.”   Thomas J. Donohue, president of The U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  From a story in The New York Times, noted by City Ethics.

Throughout his career, Donohue has demonstrated a talent for distilling fact, wisdom, irony and humor into plain-speaking quips. My all-time favorite:  “Sometimes I don’t know what I think until I hear what I have to say.”

The Ethics of Bigotry, Part II: Unethical Tactics in the .gay Wars

The real test of one’s understanding of and opposition to bigotry arrives when it isn’t directed at you or you group, but suddenly becomes a useful tool.

Two for-profit groups are competing to establish a .gay internet suffix, which sounds like a very good idea. Getting it established will be expensive, but it also will be lucrative if it catches on, with each registered internet site using the domain having to pay a fee. Both groups say they plan on contributing a chunk of those future profits to gay causes. Continue reading

I Almost Wish He Had Tasered the Mother…

The “Smoking Gun” is reporting an astonishing story from Arkansas, undoubtedly destined for cable news immortality. A policeman was summoned to a home by a mother who couldn’t control her  10-year-old daughter, who was having some kind of an emotional meltdown. When the officer was unable to stop the girl from “screaming and kicking,” he used a taser on her, a tactic suggested and approved by the mother. Continue reading

The Ethics of Bigotry, Part I: A Dubious Complaint

The Congressional Black Caucus is complaining that the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE)is unfairly targeting black members. Seven African-American Congress members are the targets of full investigations, 15% of the total black members of the House. And they are the only members currently under a complete investigation. Continue reading

Soccer Ethics, and the Duty to Self-Report in Sports

Back in January, Pope Benedict XVI opined that soccer was the perfect vehicle to teach young people moral lessons, “a tool,” in his words, “for the teaching of life’s ethical and spiritual values.” Since then, soccer players have been going out of their way, it seems, to prove him wrong, led by New Mexico women’s soccer player Elizabeth Lambert. Continue reading

Ethics Tip To President Obama Regarding the Mohammed Trial: Please Shut Up!

This is something of an addendum to the previous post, which should probably be read first.

Politico reports that in response to a question from NBC’s Chuck Todd about those who find it offensive that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the terrorist mastermind, will receive  the same rights accorded to U.S. citizens when they are charged with a crime, President Obama said,

“I don’t think it will be offensive at all when he’s convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.”  Continue reading

Un-American Values in the Terrorist’s Trial

One of the arguments being put forth by the Obama administration to support its (Pick One:  strange; risky; confusing; dangerous; insane; brave) decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a New York Federal Court is that it will highlight  American values and the integrity of our justice system. Indeed, this was about the only rationale that Administration ally Senator Jack Reed (D-RI.) could muster in his appearance with Fox News’ Chris Wallace: Continue reading

Breast Cancer Screening Standards and Conflicts of Interest

From Reuters: CHICAGO – Cancer experts fear new U.S. breast imaging guidelines that recommend against routine screening mammograms for women in their 40s may have their roots in the current drive in Washington to reform healthcare…

The decision of the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, an influential group that crafts guidelines for doctors, insurance companies and policymakers, to backtrack on decades of medical advice urging women to begin getting regular mammograms at the age of 40 has stirred debate and anger.  The most alarming aspect of the report, however, is that the new standards being put forth may reflect U.S. health care cost management considerations rather than proper concern for the health of U.S. women. Continue reading

The Trouble With Sarah

A toxic mixture of elitism, class bias, sexism and the liberal slant of the media has made Sarah Palin the most unfairly treated public figure in memory. Even when the double standards were obvious–Palin  derided as “unqualified” to lead, when the Democratic presidential choice had even less relevant experience; non-stop portrayals during the 2008 campaign as a loose-cannon flake, while the Democratic vice-presidential candidate was largely ignored despite a long and hilarious career as…a loose-cannon flake; David Letterman’s long refusal to apologize for his joke about Palin’s young daughter being sexually assaulted, despite the taboo against using the young children of public figures as joke fodder—the attacks have never abated or retreated to any reasonable standard of fairness. Continue reading