Ethics Dunce: Major League Baseball

RalphieI just learned, via TV ad, that the fantasy sports company DraftKings is endorsed by Major League Baseball.

MLB needs to rethink that. The commercial I watched just concluded with the promise that if you play fantasy baseball using DraftKings, “You could win a ship-load of money!”

Stay classy, MLB. Why in the world would any sport that is trying (not so successfully, I may add) to attract more kids as fans and encourage families to go to the ballpark ally itself with a company that advertises itself during major league baseball games with dumb, gratuitous potty-mouth crudeness like that? It’s not clever. It’s not witty. Anyone who thinks that it’s funny is 12, Adam Sandler, or a moron. It’s rude, that’s all.

Professional and trustworthy operations, including sports, choose partners that are professional too. This advertising equivalent of fart jokes reflects horribly on the sport, and the people who run it.

And, I may add, the advertising industry. The wit who thinks “a ship-load of money” is a real come-on is probably the same slob who gave us Verizon’s “half-fast” internet ads.  At least that one was original: this Noel Coward-worthy play on words is the same low-life effort that K-Mart embarrassed itself with in its“ship my pants” ads in 2013.

We all have to swim in this water we call a culture, and this is the equivalent of pissing in the pool. We should be able to expect better from baseball.


25 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Major League Baseball

  1. Playing to the lowest common denominator. There’s nothing new about that. Remember when the running joke was that TV ads were all aimed at the amazing American adult with the mind of a six year old? (Think Sean Penn in “I Am Sam”!) Obviously, his grandsons are not only considered to be no brighter, but they’re now drooling over boy’s room humor that couldn’t be displayed in the 1950’s. Now it can be. Maybe the modern Mad Av minions consider that as an advance.

  2. Although unethical behavior is crude, crudeness itself is not inherently unethical. You sound like a finger-wagging prude. Not having class is also not unethical, and the sports world is the last place you should look for it. Ironically, most people who think they have class are often unethical (and vain, egotistical, condescending, egotistical, etc.).

    • Crudeness is disrespectful and is indeed unethical. It also makes the environment and the culture coarser, less friendly, and less accommodating to civil discourse. How anybody can observe the low level of public discourse we experience daily and argue that this kind of gratuitous coarsening of the culture isn’t irresponsible (unethical), disrespectful (unethical), uncivil (unethical) and imprudent (unethical) is deluded, or just thinks being a boor is cool.

      I am anything but a prude–however I do recognize how manners decline without end unless people insist on standards. Civility is the cornerstone of respect. You are clearly going to be of little help in that regard. The sports world, which is supposed to be the source of life lessons in sportsmanship, is indeed where we should look for it.

      Spectacularly snotty and wrong-headed comment Frank, in defense of the indefensible. And this statement—“Ironically, most people who think they have class are often unethical (and vain, egotistical, condescending, egotistical, etc” is pure bull-hockey, and is as sloppy reasoning as I could imagine. So those people who think they don’t have “class” are less likely to be unethical? Who or what are you talking about? Do you even know?

      By the way—this is an ethics commentary blog, and I discuss right and wrong behavior. Calling me “sanctimonious,” “judgmental” or “a prude” gets you banned—that’s your first and last warning. The issue is right and wrong and how to determine it, recognize it and make the culture more ethical—if you don’t like the topic, you are welcome to go elsewhere.

  3. Jack, how could you denigrate the wit and wisdom of the man who wrote such elegant paeans to exotic Nature as:

    In the mangrove swamps where the python romps
    there is peace from twelve till two.
    Even caribous lie around and snooze, for there’s nothing else to do

    And of course, the most hilarious three-word line in all of Theaterdom:

    “Very flat, Norfolk.”

    • The comparison to the great Coward was sarcasm.

      Though I never really grumble,
      Life’s a jumble indeed!
      And in my efforts to succeed
      I’ve had to formulate a creed.

      I believe in doing what I can,
      In crying when I must
      And laughing when I choose.
      Heigh ho!
      If love were all I should be lonely!

      I believe the more you love a man,
      The more you give your trust,
      The more you’re bound to lose;
      Although, when shadows fall I think if only

      Somebody splendid really needed me,
      Somebody affectionate and dear,
      Cares would be ended
      If I knew that he wanted to have me near.

      But I believe that, since my life began,
      The most I’ve had is just a talent to amuse,
      Heigh ho!
      If love were all!

      SMP believes him to have been a pervert.

      • If you’re going to be sarcastic to a sprightly tune, might as well channel a few of Coward’s hundreds: “Don’t Let’s be Beastly to the Germans,” a Churchill favorite, banned by the BBC, “Uncle Harry,” who’s not a missionary now!, “Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage” advice to casting directors beset by stage mamas, “Could You Please Oblige Us with a Bren Gun” on the travails of the Home Guard, “Has Anybody Seen Our Ship” (‘she’s three guns aft and another gun ‘fore; they’ve promised us a funnel for the next world war’) . . . . just what was needed to balance the sentiment of “London Pride”, “I’ll See You Again” “Some Day I’ll find You” “Room with a View” . . . . There is a strong view that, working with the Secret Service in the U.S. and running the British propaganda office in Paris, Noel Coward did a major part in tipping the balance of American favor toward taking part WWII, without which …. well, maybe Hitler would be 116 years old, and people would know what perversion really is.

  4. I don’t think I can agree with your original premise here. You are arguing that, because a company advertises during an sporting event, that the sport involved therefore endorses that company’s product.

    As I understand the process, it is the individual TV/radio station or the network that sells the advertising, not the team or the league. I think it is more likely that the advertiser is then seen as supporting or endorsing the event or sport. Or, more likely, just sees it as an opportunity to gain the ears of their prospective customers.

    Certainly I have heard any number of ads that are antithetical to the radio program they are advertising on.


    I’ve not heard this particular ad from Draft Kings, although I have heard other of their ads a number of times, not to mention innumerable ads by their rival Fan Duel. If we are to condemn MLB for permitting them to advertise, we must then also do the same for golf, basketball, and football (and probably more), all of which I have heard them tout their fantasy games.

    • Gotta read those first lines, friend: “I just learned, via TV ad, that the fantasy sports company DraftKings is endorsed by Major League Baseball.

      Endorse the product, endorse the ad; endorse the ad, endorse “shipload of money.”

      The ad has the MLB logo on it.

      • Sigh.

        I took a look at their web site.

        “Official mini fantasy game of”

        All I can say is that I’m happy they don’t run that ad on the radio.

        They do seem to be proud of it, since it’s featured on their web site. I sort of skimmed the ad while I was listening to the Rangers’ game. It didn’t seem particularly appealing even before they got to the punch line.

  5. I saw the Draft Kings ad a couple of times this past weekend. My forensic analysis leads me to conclude that the makers of the “ship-load” ad are not the same as those who did the “half-fast” ad(s). No: the Draft Kings are obviously scions of the Sofa King advertisers in Saturday Night Live skits. It’s SofaKing obvious…

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