More Speech Policing In The Service Of Political Correctness: The Matt Joyce Affair

“GET HIM! He used a bad word!!!”

An obnoxious fan was verbally abusing Oakland A’s player Matt Joyce during 8-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, and he responded in kind, or perhaps worse than in-kind, since what the fan was saying has not been reported. In his angry exchange with the fan, however, Joyce used what is only described as an “anti-gay slur,” which I assume to be “fag” or faggot.” If it was “cocksucker,” which I don’t believe is an anti-gay slur as used by athletes and others, then the description is misleading.

I have no problem with the fact that Joyce was disciplined for this. He’s a professional, and major league players have to put up with fans, even those who behave despicably. (Harassing a player with abusive verbiage is unethical, and the fan should have been ejected.) However, the player’s offense was a single word, and the punishment was two games suspension, which in Joyce’s case is about a $60,000 fine. $60,000 for a single word hurled in the midst of an argument is cruel and unusual punishment. Worse, Major League Baseball required that Joyce now participate in an outreach program with PFLAG, a “family and ally organization” supporting the LGBTQ community. That’s indoctrination, and an abuse of authority. The issue is incivility, not insufficient sensitivity to a minority group.

Joyce grovelled and apologized all over the place on Twitter, as if he had condemned the entire LGBT community. He needed to apologize to the fan he used the word on. That’s all. As we discussed in the case of a previous ballplayer, Kevin Pillar, disciplined this year for using the same term during play, this appears to be virtue-signalling by MLB, and unfair. Would Joyce have been suspended for, say, calling the fan “fuckhead”? Would he have to go to Fuckhead Sensitivity Training?

I wrote,

Now  any employer… can make any rules it chooses regarding the workplace. Obviously slurs cause bad feelings and are not the kind of things a professional sport wants its young fans to associate with its heroes. Still, any time people get punished for mere words my ethics alarms go off, and they also go off when so many people don’t seem to have ethics alarms regarding chilling speech and expression.

Pillar, by the way, though he received the same punishment in terms of games, lost one-tenth of the salary that Joyce will for losing the same word. Is that fair?

I am also troubled by this: the exchange was reported, not by the fan involved (fans generally are greatly amused when player deign to address them directly, even in a derogatory fashion, especially the kind of jerks who think it’s fun to hurl abuse from the safety of the stands) but by Associated Press photographer Mark J. Terrill, who decided to play Lena Dunham.

He had access to Joyce. The kind, ethical, fair response by Tarrill would be to tell Joyce that he heard the exchange, and that in the interests of the team and the sport he should apologize to the fan involved, or at least resolve not to behave similarly. That would be how he would want to be treated; this is Golden Rule territory. Instead, he set out to public ally embarrass Joyce (I presume he was aware of the Pillar incident), permanently mar his reputation, and cost him a significant amount of money….for a word, uttered in anger. After all, political correctness and the LGTB Enforcement Squad must be feared and obeyed.

Next time, Matt, if you just can’t let it go,  call the jerk a fuckhead.

It’s cheaper.


19 thoughts on “More Speech Policing In The Service Of Political Correctness: The Matt Joyce Affair

    • If you were a true ally of the HBSC (Hot dog, Bratwurst, Sausage & Corn dog) community you would know that that term should never be used in a derogatory way.

  1. Players need to start a blow-back against reporters who do crap like this. If a reporter is blackballed, then their career becomes severely limited.

  2. The fact that he apologized should, have mitigated the punishment. Finding the exact rude fan was probably not possible, and the fact that it was not the fan that complained then the punishment is way too harsh,as obviously the fan was not as concerned. Possibly a homophobe himself and too embarrassed by being called the slur.

  3. With regards to whether its fair that two players received different “fines” for the same offense (by virtue of their same-length suspensions but disparate salaries):

    My vote is yes. A player being paid more is being asserted to have more value to the team. The more valuable a player is, the more the public associates them with the team, so the team has a stronger interest in their behavior being above reproach. In addition, standardizing the punishment by value rather than length would have the unintended consequence of stars receiving shorter suspensions and thus give the appearance that the stars are getting a slap on the wrist.

    (Oh, and you’ve missed the boat on “cocksucker,” I’m afraid. Anything that can be in some way related to gay conduct is now an anti-gay slur, see the kerfuffle over Colbert referring to Trump as a “cockholster.” His only sin in most people’s eyes was that he insulted the president with homophobia instead of approved vulgarity).

    • Let’s get real. “Cocksucker” has to be considered an anti-gay slur. The equivalent of “faggot” or “fudge packer.”

      If it was a home game in the Bay Area, or even an away game in Anaheim, ownership had to cow tow to the gay community. Anything less would have resulted in demonstrations and boycotts and all sort of other expensive behavior for ownership to deal with. They threw a player under the bus. Not exactly shocking.

      • “Cocksucker” has to be considered an anti-gay slur.

        Because a female would NEVER stoop so low (bad pun)? Where I live this is an equal opportunity slur. The term equated to ‘suck up’ or could imply less than stellar character, like a stronger version of SOB or bastard. For a female, it could also imply slutty character.

        Just because the left as misappropriated the word does not make it an anti-gay slur.

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