Ethics On A Sunday Afternoon, 9/27/2020: Baseball And Rainbow Hearts [Corrected]

1. For the first time since I was 12, I’m glad to see the regular baseball season come to an end.

Not only was the 60-game make-shift schedule played before empty stadiums,  with fake crowd noises and cardboard cut-outs a farce, but it looks like some of the accommodations made to adjust to Life Under Lockdown will stick, cheapening the game forever. The worst is the expanded play-off system, which, like the National Hockey League version, basically makes the regular season irrelevant. Maybe the habitually wrong-headed owners will reject it for future seasons, but I’m not sanguine. The extra-innings gimmick of starting each half-inning with a player on second is an abomination, and only slightly less offensive are the seven inning games in double-headers.

Meanwhile, I haven’t watched or followed a Boston Red Sox game since the team joined the one-day wildcat strike to protest the racist, brutal shooting of Jacob Blake, which was neither racist in motive nor an example of police brutality. I’ll be writing a long letter to the team this week: if it alienated me, it’s not only in trouble, it doesn’t know its fan base. And if I get anything approaching the “you’re just a racist not to believe that black lives matter” response that I got from idiot Boston sportswriter Pete Abraham, I’m burning all my Red Sox memorabilia, and burying the stuff that doesn’t burn.

Meanwhile, the club showed its ethics deficits in other ways. Before today’s merciful finale, the team announced that manager Ron Roenicke would not be returning in 2021, a move that was inevitable but that certainly didn’t have to be made now, before the season was even over. Roenicke did nothing to distinguish himself in the lost 2020 season, but he was a good soldier, doing his best—which appears to be mediocrity personified—to guide a snake-bitten team that began by losing its popular manager, Alex Cora because he’s a cheater, then traded its best player, superstar Mookie Betts, then lost its star pitcher to arm surgery and its second best pitcher to the complications from Wuhan virus. The Boston team began a 60 game season by quickly falling ten games under .500, guaranteeing no post season slot, and several of the veteran players started going through the motions. Roenicke, in short, never had wisp of a chance, and the team would have crashed if he were a combination of Casey Stengel, Earl Weaver, John McGraw and Connie Mack

Boston fans, even those that are not disgusted with the team for slapping huge racist, Marxist, lie-based slogans inside and outside Fenway Park, will not want to be reminded of this season, so Roenicke’s demise was mandatory, but he deserved to be treated with some respect. Not even waiting until the season to dump him was over has a “this guy is so bad we can’t stand having him around another second” stench to it, and he did not deserve that.

Well, there’s always the Yankees...

2. Forced political conformity at Kroger…and also that religious intolerance thingy…is going to be determined based on whether a company logo is a gay pride statement or not.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing the Kroger Company for discrimination after two employees at an Arkansas store were fired for not wearing a rainbow symbol representing  LGBTQ support. The EEOC alleges that a store in Conway, Arkansas., infringed on the religious beliefs of two employees by firing them for refusing to wear an apron with a multi-colored heart symbol.

The suit seeks seeking back pay, compensatory damages, and a halt to any future discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Here is the symbol:

When the Conway Kroger introduced a new dress code in April, 2019, it asked employees to wear an apron with that emblem on the bib. Various versions of the rainbow have long been used as pro-LGBTQ symbolism; the question is whether the heart qualifies. Many advocates for the cause deny it, and  corporate marketing materials for other Kroger venues explain that the four-colored heart means “Everyone Friendly and Caring, Everything Fresh, Uplift Every Way, Improve Everyday.”

Sure. It seems clear to me that Kroger was trying to appeal to the rainbow market without explicitly making an unambiguous statement. If both employees had a “good faith belief” that the multicolored heart represented the LGBTQ cause and forced them to reject tenets of their religion, should they have to wear the emblem?

Like so many of these clashes involving the gay community and religion, this controversy could have been avoided and should have been. It wouldn’t be enough to allow the employees to eschew wearing the emblem, because that would be viewed as an anti-LGBTQ statement, and no employee should be placed in that position. Political and social statements in the workplace should be strictly prohibited, be they flag pins, MAGA hats, pink ribbons, or whatever this heart is. They should definitely never be mandatory.

Kroger is at fault here, whether it was trying to suck up to a demographic without being open about it, or whether it blundered into this mess through incompetence.

30 thoughts on “Ethics On A Sunday Afternoon, 9/27/2020: Baseball And Rainbow Hearts [Corrected]

  1. Well, you could do as I am fixing to do and root for the Astros in the post season. 🙂

    The Yankees? Not even if they were featuring Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Not even if they were playing the Red Sox. Not even ….

    • Your use of “fixing to” lends a lot of authenticity to your rooting for the Houston team. 🙂

      I moved to Texas 22 years ago, but the first time I casually said “fixin’ to” without thinking about it was the day I became a Texan.

      • I spent 30 years in West Texas as an adult, plus 6 as a kid in east Texas. Picked up some of the idioms along the way that we just didn’t have in Nebraska….

        • As many an Ethics Alarmist already knows, I am from Ohio, just southeast of Cleveland. I moved to Texas in 1986. I tried – I really did! – to assimilate but I have been thwarted every step of the way. I tried to use “y’all” once but a Conroe folk openly declared that my use of that word offended her to the very core of being, stating that we “Damn Yankees” should just turn around a go home. I didn’t realize that “Damn Yankee” was a verbal cut to the throat. The attorney I was clerking for at the time had to rescue me from imminent death and dismemberment.

          I have only adopted one or two Texas colloquialisms. I love the expression “to be hacked off”. It took a few hears before I realized that it meant someone was really, really mad, I mean blood-boilingly mad. I apparently and unwittingly hacked off that Conroe folk from the first paragraph. “Fixin’ to” is an amusing statement. Oh, and here, “Coke” refers to any carbonated soft drink. That was a head scratcher. I guess I am slow on the uptake.


          • I’m always fascinated and entertained by regional dialect differences like this. I’ve heard two different northern equivalents of “y’all” – “you’uns” in Appalachia, and the shortened version “yinz” in western PA.

            I always thought the character Boomhauer on “King Of The Hill” was exaggerated, but then I met a guy in Fort Worth who is virtually unintelligible in a similar way. Linguists could make a career out of just studying Texan dialects.

  2. How would anyone associate the multicolored heart emblem with the values stated? Creating an emblem that is supposed to symbolize core values of the organization requires that the colors are defined. What does the gold represent? High prices maybe? How about the red or the light blue? Why were these colors chosen and how does the heart play into the messaging? Without building a trademark brand around these colors they mean whatever someone perceives them to mean or they mean nothing at all.

    • “Follies,” but not SITPWG. The thing is a one-act show with two acts. Like all of the Lapine books, it runs out of steam. Too expensive and complicated for high schools, colleges, community theater and most regional companies to produce. The ultimate dead-end Sondhiem musical…brilliant, but indulgent.

      • Jack wrote, “Too expensive and complicated for high schools, colleges, community theater and most regional companies to produce.”

        I agree it’s a far stretch for most High Schools and Colleges but not for some of the deeply talented exceptional community theaters around Madison, WI. A couple of very talented theatrical friends of mine were in a local community theater production some 10+ years ago in a relatively small theater with no fly space just off Madison’s capitol square. It was a fabulous production, the vocals were absolutely beautiful and it was visually stunning, they did a final freeze frame with the cast and scenery looked remarkably like the painting, and with no fly space they had to get really creative to accomplish it, it was theatrically “perfect”! Since that production years ago, there have been a couple of other groups in the area that tackled it including one High School that has done some really good shows over the years, I didn’t get to see the other productions.

  3. 1. “There’s always the Yankees.”
    No. You cannot become a Yankees fan just by dropping your previous team because they suck. No way. You know this, despite your reluctance to admit it. Switching from the Bosox to the Yankees is such a step up that it cannot be done so cavalierlly. A fair amount of time in Purgatorio might do it; probably not. I think you’re damned.

  4. Anyone remember this?

    That report — published by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — led to headlines like “We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN” by The Guardian, and “The world has just over a decade to get climate change under control, U.N. scientists say” from the Washington Post.

    But when freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) made the exact same point this January — that U.S. millennials fear “the world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change” — the right-wing and even some in the media pounced.

  5. Regarding the rainbow emblem and Kroger:

    Lawson, who had worked in the deli department at the Kroger since August of 2011, asked the store manager multiple times to wear her name tag over the heart and clarified her religious reasons for doing so. She also made the request of the store’s human resources department in writing.

    The other employee, Trudy Rickerd, worked as a cashier and file maintenance clerk at the store since October, 2006. She wrote that she had “a sincerely held religious belief that I cannot wear a symbol that promotes or endorses something that is in violation of my religious faith.”

    If the design of the emblem and the explanation of it can be traced back to a date before it was made part of the uniform, and if the explanation of the colors was revealed then, I cannot see how this heart symbol with only 4 colors can be associated with the homosexual’s flag.

    • If I owned a grocery store, my employees would wear a white apron made of a single long piece of cloth with a hole in the center for the head, tied about the waist. The emblem would be a large red plus-sign, symbolizing our committedness to adding value. It would be elongated at the bottom slightly, because we stand tall over the competition. There could be a motto in gold letters detailing this idea, perhaps in Latin to add gravitas: in hoc signo vinces. This is how the West was won, after all.

    • I am inclined to be even more generous to the company. The heart has only four colours not remotely in spectrum sequence. If the company mandates it be part of the dress code, so be it.

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