Dinnertime Ethics Leftovers, 5/30/18: Whatthehellism, Greiten’s Resignation Gets Spun, And The Cubs Manager Demonstrates Rationalization #30 For The Class

(This post was all set to go up before noon. I just had the last item to finish..and then all hell broke loose here. I’m sorry. Now the meal is cold…)

1. Not whataboutism, but rather whatthehellism…It’s a trap, of course. A blatant racist tweet like Roseanne’s yesterday would get CEO fired, a Cabinet member fired, and I suspect, a tenured professor fired, though equally racist tweets have been survived by profs as long as they denigrated whites. Still, the media’s double standard is palpable, as well as undeniable. Thus I was amused when a sudden surge in visits to a post from last September led me to rediscover this, authored then by Keith Olbermann:

and these…

Can we assume, therefore, since it was recently announced that ESPN, like ABC owned by Disney, is bringing back Olbermann for a prominent role in its sports broadcasting, that the company does want to be associated with his kind of vulgarity, incivility and hate?

2.  Update, Unethical Governors Division: Governor Eric Greitens of Missouri, a decorated Navy SEAL who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, resigned yesterday after months of fighting multiple scandals, including a juicy one involving a sexual relationship with his former hairdresser and her claims that he had taken an explicit photograph of her without her permission, and used it to extort her. He was also accused by prosecutors of misusing his charity’s donor list for political purposes. Greitens has been metaphorical toast for months, and this was just a shoe dropping that had to drop eventually. Yet here is the New York Times headline:

Eric Greitens, Missouri Governor and Rising Republican Star, Resigns Amid Scandal.

Here is the Times headline when Democratic New York Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned over a prostitution scandal:

Spitzer Resigns, Citing Personal Failings

Spitzer really was a rising Democratic star, unlike Greitens. You can’t be a rising political star when nobody heard of you before 2016, you have only been in office since January 2017, and jsut as your second year in office begins, you are caught in an ugly sex scandal. Why is the “rising star” reference in the headline? Why, to make Republicans look bad, of course, though until this creep was being measured for a perp walk, most Republicans outside of Missouri never heard of him. Hey, you know who was also a rising star, a real one? Eric Schneiderman, the now disgraced and resigned New York Attorney General. I haven’t checked, I swear: what do you think, does the Times hedaline about his demise mention his party or that he was a “rising star”? I’m checking now…here it comes…

Eric Schneiderman Resigns as New York Attorney General Amid Assault Claims by 4 Women.

Nah, there’s no bias in the mainstream news media…

To be fair, everyone knows that the rising stars of the Democratic Party are Joe Biden, 75, Bernie Sanders, 76, and Elizabeth Warren, 68.

3. A perfect example of Rationalization # 30. The Prospective Repeal: “It’s a bad law/stupid rule”

A controversy erupted over this play, in which Cubs player Anthony Rizzo deliberately slid into catcher Elias Diaz to break up a double play. Here is is:

The ball flew into the outfield, and the Pirates protested that the slide was illegal. The umpires ruled, even after a video review, that it didn’t violate the relatively new rule on slides into home plate, put into place after a hard slide at home plate almost ended Giants budding superstar catcher Buster Posey’s career.

But the slide was, in fact, illegal, as Major League Baseball admitted the next day. MLB reviewed the play and determined Rizzo’s slide was a violation of the 2-year-old slide rule,  Rule 6.01(j),  which decrees that a legal slide “occurs when the runner (1) begins his slide (i.e., makes contact with the ground) before reaching the base; (2) is able and attempts to reach the base with his hand or foot; (3) is able and attempts to remain on the base (except home plate) after completion of the slide; and (4) slides within reach of the base without changing his pathway for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.”

Rizzo obviously changed his pathway for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder, as you can see,

Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who passes for an intellectual in baseball circles (which tells you something), insisted both before and after the MLB ruling that the slide was legal:

“That’s how you should teach your kids to slide to break up a double play at home plate. The catcher has got to clear the path. Your baseball sensibilities have to be impacted if, in fact, an out is recorded on a good baseball play. That’s where I don’t get all these rules, where you permit outs (and) take runs off the scoreboard, based on good baseball, based on something that’s been written down and fabricated over the past couple years.”

I’m sorry you don’t “get it,” Joe, but the rule still says its illegal.

“That’s how you should teach your kids to slide and break up a double play – the catcher’s gotta clear a path,” Maddon continued.

No, Joe, because then you are teaching kids under the old rule, where you could slide into the catcher to break up a double play. See, now there’s a new rule. It says a runner can’t try to slide into a fielder.

“You have to teach proper technique. He’s gotta get out farther, he’s gotta keep his foot on the plate clear because that’s absolutely what can happen. And you know why? Because it happened to me and the same thing happened – the ball went down the right field corner.”

Joe was referring to the fact that he was a catcher–a couple decades ago. You know—before they changed the rule.

And yet he persisted: “When that happens, if that play gets turned over, there’s no base sticking up, they’re saying something about diverting to hit the catcher purposely or cleats in the air. All kinds of innate stuff. You’re teaching the fans the wrong things.”

It’s the rule, Joe. Your player has to follow the rule like everyone else. Nobody cares that you think it’s a bad rule. That doesn’t make it go away.

“Anthony is coming down the line, the catcher is right there,” Maddon said later.”The catcher has an option to get rid of the ball more quickly, get farther out in front of home plate or just hold on to it. He could have done those three things also. Those are three results that could have happened. Don’t penalize Anthony for doing the right baseball thing that he’s been taught to do from the time he was a kid.”

Uh, Joe? The rule has been changed since Rizzo “was a kid.” Why is this so hard to grasp for you?

“What would have happened had the catcher thrown to first base and completed the play before Anthony knocked him down?” Maddon asked a large group of reporters who’d gathered the visitors’ dugout  yesterday’s game. “Anybody? …Nothing. So don’t penalize Anthony for running hard.”

Yes, that would be because umpires never call a rule violation if it has no impact on the game. This is called “moral luck.” It’s like when an illegal pitch, like a spitball, is hit for a home run. It was also just moral luck that Rizzo’s illegal take-out slide didn’t injure Diaz or end his career, as it could have. That’s why they put in the new rule.  Your hypothetical proves nothing.

Hey—here’s a coupon for ten free ethics lessons from ProEthics. Start by reading this:

30. The Prospective Repeal: “It’s a bad law/stupid rule”

Citizenship, an ethical value, requires obeying the law, but a lot of people convince themselves that that laws are voluntary, and that it is somehow ethical to violate “bad” ones, defined, of course, as those that are inconvenient, burdensome, or that stop you from doing what you want to do. Laws embody the ethical values of society, and if one of them seems wrong to you, you are nonetheless obligated to follow it as part of the social contract. To do otherwise is unethical. Your options are limited: write and speak in opposition to the law (or rule), in hopes of changing the societal consensus; work within the system and with others to change the law; find a legal and ethical way around it; or violate it openly as a matter of conscience, and accept the penalty—civil disobedience.  It isn’t ethical to violate what you think is a bad law while it is still a law, because this creates an obvious breach of the Rule of Universality: if everyone followed that course, we would have chaos and anarchy. There are bad rules and laws, no doubt about it. It must be the group—society, the culture—that decides when one of them needs to be amended or eliminated. The individual who does this unilaterally is threatening the stability of society, and that’s unethical no matter what the law is.

Quiz tomorrow.


4 thoughts on “Dinnertime Ethics Leftovers, 5/30/18: Whatthehellism, Greiten’s Resignation Gets Spun, And The Cubs Manager Demonstrates Rationalization #30 For The Class

  1. Joe Madden is vastly overrated as an intellectual. He’s probably overrated as a major league manager. I think it’s the glasses. People seem to think they make him look brainy. I think he’s just an average, older, baseball guy.

  2. #1 Actually, Roseanne should have employed the Joy Reid technique, by saying she was hacked, if that gets blown, say that it may look like it was me, but was not me, nope nah-ah, definitely not me. It’s funny though, there was some panel with Joy Reid discussing Roseanne, where talks about how this is terrible and it’s good that she got fired, bigotry bad, and America was, is and always will be the most racist place on earth and everybody is Bull Connor. She is either dumb or insidious, because if you change the Roseanne to Joy Reid, racist to homophobe, she just made a case why she should have been fired.
    Disclosure: I never watched the original Roseanne show, didn’t watch the remake, don’t really care about it. Her tweet was bad, and the consequences brought upon her are not unwarranted.
    #2 See Andrew Klavan’s three rules of the media:
    Rule 1:
    Stories confirming left bias = representative
    Stories contradicting left bias = exceptions
    Rule 2:
    Scandal on the right = scandal is the story
    Scandal on the left = how was the information that uncovered this scandal obtained? Was it illegal?
    Rule 3:
    Right wing extremists are representative of the whole of the right.
    Left wing extremists are noble and fight for the little guy. If they kill somebody, they are probably crazy, have marginal views that have nothing similar with any mainstream left ideas.

  3. Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who passes for an intellectual in baseball circles (which tells you something), insisted both before and after the MLB ruling that the slide was legal

    The Manager is a hack. A least the Cubs know he is loyal: if it had been HIS catcher who got blindsided he would have argued the other way. This is the sort of ethics rot that pervades our society: ends justify the means, and my side is always right, even if the facts disagree.

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