Every year, Major League Baseball teams indulge in a high-profile, stupid and offensive ritual by forcing their rookies to dress in ridiculous costumes as they travel home after their final road trip. This is hazing, the team’s veterans humiliating the team’s young players and forcing them to show proper deference and character by submitting to it. Most of the time, the humiliation involved dressing in drag, because, as every red-blooded American male knows, nothing is worse than being compared to a woman.
Sure, the resulting photos were sometimes funny in a Benny Hill/Milton Berle way, except that nobody over the emotional age of 12 ever found Benny or Uncle Miltie’s drag bits funny. Besides, those comics liked dressing up in drag, and did so without coercion. That’s very different from forcing someone else to do it, which is what MLB teams allowed their players to do, producing spectacles like these (and the one above):
MLB’s new agreement with the Players Union finally forbids some of this nonsense, which is good because it’s more than nonsense. All hazing is institutionalized abuse, and the fact that some victims don’t mind it, or that some hazing is harmless, or that it isn’t meant to be cruel, doesn’t change what hazing is and has always been: those with power abusing it at the expense of someone who has a reason to submit to it. There is no consent, and it cannot be justified, except with rationalizations like “It’s always been done this way,” and “Nobody’s complained before.”
Unfortunately, MLB, being incorrigibly dumb, didn’t ban all hazing and bullying in the new agreement, or ban what they did ban for the right reasons. The policy, obtained by The Associated Press, prohibits “requiring, coercing or encouraging” players from “dressing up as women or wearing costumes that may be offensive to individuals based on their race, sex, nationality, age, sexual orientation, gender identify or other characteristic.”
Explained MLB Vice President Paul Mifsud:
“[I]n light of social media, which in our view sort of unfortunately publicized a lot of the dressing up of the players … those kind of things which in our view were insensitive and potentially offensive to a number of groups. There’s lots of pictures of baseball players dressed up as Disney princesses.”
What an idiot. So baseball bans some forms of hazing and bullying, not because hazing and bullying are wrong, but because of “social media” exposure and political correctness. Under the policy, teams can still force rookies to parade through airports dressed as chickens, or ZZ Top, or Batman or Jiminy Glick, because NOW won’t complain. So making rookies dress up like the Tampa Bay Rays young players this season is presumably just fine:
Well, it’s a start, I guess.
Baby ethics steps for Ethics Dunces.
Facts and Graphics: Yahoo!