Perhaps The Best Baseball Ethics Story Ever: The Chris Sale Uniform Freak-Out

White Sox uniforms

Last night, incomplete fragments of news came through the baseball media that Chicago White Sox pitching ace Chris Sale had been pulled from his scheduled start against the Tigers. Was he about to be traded? No, we learned that there had been a “non-physical” altercation with someone in the White Sox front office. Huh? What did that mean?

It turned out that the truth was stranger than any speculation. Sale, we learned, had refused to wear a retro White Sox uniform during a “Turn Back The Clock” promotion that nigh, and to ensure that he wouldn’t have to, he cut up all the vintage uniforms, using a scissors and a knife, while the rest of the team was taking batting practice.

As soon as I heard this, I told my wife,”I bet I know exactly which uniforms the team was supposed to wear.” I was right: the White Sox promotion involved giving out free facsimile 1976 uniform jerseys to the first 15,000 game attendees, with the team wearing the infamous fashion abortion perpetrated on baseball by puckish former White Sox owner Bill Veeck, the same iconoclast who sent a midget up to bat in a real game.

Here are those uniforms, almost unanimously agreed-upon by all critics as the silliest baseball garb ever to appear on a Major League player (that’s Veeck in the middle; the ones on the left are the uniforms in question):

1976-white-sox-uniforms_mtqjliw57ekb1e3fkjxj4grkj

It is recorded that the players and the fans hated the 1976 uniforms, which were quickly discarded, especially the version with the shorts, which only appeared in one game. No wonder Sale was upset.

Now to the ethics issues: Continue reading

The Astounding Apology of Anti-Semitic Harvard Law Student Husam El-Coolaq

husam_linkedin_photo

At Harvard Law School, an event in the Program on Negotiation, sponsored by the Jewish Law Students Association and Harvard Hillel and titled “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict & the U.S” consisted of an exchange of ideas between former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and American diplomat Dennis Ross.

Husam El-Qoulaq, a law student in the audience asked this:

My question for Tzipi Livni is, how is it that you are so smelly? It’s regarding your odor — about the odor of Tzipi Livni, very smelly.

How professional, civil, respectful and representative of the image that the nation’s most prestigious law school wishes to present to the world!

Harvard Law’s Jewish community reacted with indignation at this brazen display of anti-Semitism, while Harvard’s Law School Dean Martha Minow issued an official statement that the incident…

“…was offensive and it violated the trust and respect we expect in our community. Many perceive it as anti-Semitic, and no one would see it as appropriate. It was an embarrassment to this institution and an assault upon the values we seek to uphold. The fact that speech is and should be free does not mean that hateful remarks should go unacknowledged or unanswered in a community dedicated to thoughtful discussion of complex issues and questions.”

Husam El-Qoulaq then posted this astounding “apology”: Continue reading

Observations On The Civility Meltdown On Fox News

Swear_wordsMonday  was “Talk like Jon Stewart Day” on Fox, as two Fox News contributors were quickly suspended after they used vulgarity while discussing President Barack Obama‘s Sunday night address on terrorism. Ralph Peters, a Fox Business analyst called the President a “total pussy,” and Fox News’ Outnumbered panelist Stacey Dash, who said Obama doesn’t “give a shit” about terrorism.

Observations:

I. Yes, the incursion on traditional news reporting by alleged comedy and satire shows like Bill Maher’s HBO conservative-bashing orgy and the various clown nose off and on with lightning speed political commentary shows on Comedy Central was bound to lead to this. It is kind of unfair: Maher can call Michele Bachmann a cunt without consequence, and Jon Stewart can throw “fuck” around like confetti, but their favorite target, Fox News, is limited in its rhetoric as the wits are not. Well, that’s Fox’s burden, and its obligation. It can’t sink to the level of Maher and Comedy Central. This is a clear line. Comics are not obligated to have respect for anyone (even if they do suck up to Democrats more often than not.) Journalists and their guests are required to adhere to professional levels of civility, even when delivering harsh criticism. Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “Ethics Quiz: The Worst Grandmother of the Year”

"If the only tool you have is a hammer, every kitten looks like a nail..."

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, every kitten looks like a nail…”

The Ethics Quiz concerning the grandmother who disciplined the children under her charge by killing a cat and her kittens with a hammer prompted a superb thread with many able participants. It also explored many rich ethics topics—child abuse, animal abuse,  property, child-rearing, discipline, punishment, law vs. ethics, and more. The entire thread is well worth reading, and it also generated a Comment of the Day that summarized and expanded on the themes and issues discussed. texagg04 has provided several COTD, but I don’t know if any have been better than this one. As a bonus, tex’s comment has persuaded me that I need to add another rationalization to the list. That should be up later today.

Congratulations and thanks to all the Ethics Alarms readers who weighed in so thoughtfully on this story. Tex’s honor here is in part yours as well.

Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, Ethics Quiz: The Worst Grandmother of the Year:

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Comment of the Day: “Ethics Hero: Toya Graham, The Baltimore Riot’s ‘Mom of the Year’”

Baltimore mom

I don’t know if a 24 hour period has ever produced as many provocative, passionate and well-argued comments on Ethics Alarms before. This, commenter Holly’s reaction to my designation of the viral  Baltimore mom Toya Graham clobbering her rioter son during the Freddie Gray disruptions in Charm City, is just one of several. I’ll address some of the issues she raises after the post; in the meantime, here is Holly’s Comment of the Day, in a day that will probably have more than one, on the post, “Ethics Hero: The Baltimore Riot’s ‘Mom of the Year’”:

I am surprised at this response. For a number of reasons. In any other circumstance, this woman probably would be going to jail. But if we watch the video more closely, the following observations can be made:

1. This child was leaving with his mother and she was so angry that she chases him to pull him back towards her to continue the beating. He appeared to be complying and in her anger continued to the assault the kid during the walk away.

2. The child was not in imminent danger. There are bystanders all around I saw no rocks being thrown in this video nor police for that matter. It does not appear the threat of losing his life was immediately in front of them.

3. The assault starts with a few close-fisted strikes as well as continuing with open-fisted strikes or what people are calling “smacks”.

Exemplary action on the part of this mother would not have been beating her son as he walked away from the riot, however.  It would have included not allowing a 16 year out of her supervision to wander in the riot in the first place. Continue reading

Bergdahl Desertion Ethics

BoweSo Bowe Bergdahl is being tried as a deserter! Fancy that—and yet Susan Rice, the President’s National Security Advisor, told the nation, as the President was trying to pretend his decision to trade terrorists for the disturbed American POW wasn’t the cynical effort to overshadow the then raging VA scandal and to tamp down veteran groups’ rage that it was, that Bergdahl  “…served the United States with honor and distinction…”

Either Rice knew this wasn’t true—and if she were competent in her job, she would have to, wouldn’t she?—and was lying to the American public, or she didn’t know whether it was true or not, but asserted that it was true anyway, which is also lying to the American people. She is, as we already know, willing to do this—lie. And her punishment from the President, who promised transparency, for such a high profile and embarrassing lie? Nothing. What does this tell us? It tells us that Barack Obama doesn’t put a very high priority on being truthful with the public that elected him..

You know, I don’t object to making a prisoner trade to free an American soldier, even an awful one like Bergdahl, if that is the reason why it is done. I can accept it if our leaders level with the public, as in: “Sgt. Bergdahl is far from a model soldier, and may even be facing charges. But he is an American citizen, and we do not abandon our own. Even a flawed American soldier is more precious than five terrorists.” These leaders, however, don’t level, because they fear that if they did, the full disgrace of their incompetence would be known. Just as Obama doesn’t hold Rice accountable, the news media and the President’s party don’t hold him accountable for this putrid, contemptuous treatment of the American people, and Democrats allow incidents like this to rot their values from the inside out.

That’s the revolting culture that the charges against Bergdahl confirm, for those not completely rotted. Continue reading

KABOOM! “Hey! Let’s Torture Our Son For His Own Good!”

This was a bad one...

This was a bad one.

I really need my brains right now. I have an intellectual property legal ethics seminar to write, and an aggravating commentary on the ridiculous stand-off over gay marriage in Alabama. And yet there are my brains, scattered all over the ceiling and walls after the first KABOOM! of 2015.

That’s one more reason to be furious at Elizabeth Hupp, Rose Brewer,  and Denise Kroutil, otherwise known (here) as the Cretin Family.  That, and the fact that they are brutal, child abusing idiots. You see, Auntie Denise was concerned that Hupp’s six-year-old son wasn’t sufficiently wary of strangers. Grandma Rose agreed, so with Mom’s approval, they arranged to have a stranger kidnap the child, imprison him, and terrorize him.

Followed by a stern lecture.

Let me know when your head blows up as I relate this ridiculous/horrible/unbelievable but true story. Continue reading

It Serves Me Right: I Don’t Watch The Super Bowl To Avoid Supporting The NFL As It Cripples Young Men, And Miss A Player Pretending To Poop A Football…

doug-baldwin

Did you and your kids miss the magic moment in the Super Bowl when Seattle’s Doug Baldwin celebrated a touchdown by miming the act of crapping out a football? You may have, because the broadcast’s director, undoubtedly primed for Seattle’s various crotch-grabbing antics—this is the biggest family TV event of the year, don’t you know—was on the alert for something ugly and snapped his cameras away.

But Baldwin still did it, and everyone in the stadium saw it. There was a penalty, and now Baldwin has been fined $11,000, the equivalent of a jay-walking ticket, the smallest fine for on-field misbehavior there is in the NFL. I tried to imagine, as a baseball fan, what would have happened in the World Series if, say, Pablo Sandoval had pretended to poop on home plate after scoring a key run. My guess is that he would have been thrown out of the game, suspended, fined, and instantly reduced his value as a free agent by 30% or more. Last season, Jonathan Papelbon, a moron, grabbed his crotch the way Seahawk Marshawn Lynch has been doing all season as he left a regular season game, was ejected, and suffered a wave of columns condemning him. How many columns have you read about Baldwin? See, the culture of football, and the standards of its fans, are so abysmal that a player embarrassing the league, the game, his team and the broadcast, not to mention parents watching the game with their children by pretending to poop out a football isn’t even a big deal now. After all, he didn’t cold-cock his girl-friend, beat a four-year old, murder someone, try to use doctored balls or deceive people into liquifying their brains: what’s the big deal? Continue reading

The Demon Barber Of Snelville

shamecut

A barbershop in the Atlanta suburb of Snelville offers parents the opportunity to give their misbehaving little boys a punishment they’ll never forget.  A-1 Kutz will give the boys a “Benjamin Button Special,” free of charge, a haircut invented by Russell Fredrick and his team of barbers that makes tykes look like balding progeria victims.

Gee, what a good idea.

Fredrick  is a 34-year-old father of three, and first tried the disfiguring haircut on his 12-year-old son, Rushawn, last fall. He claims it was a great success, since Rushawn’s grades“dramatically skyrocketed” after he was humiliated. And we all know the ends justify the means. Now, he claims, there has been a surge of interest from other parents.He told the Washington Post that he thinks African-American parents are looking for alternative ways of discipline after the uproar over Adrian Peterson—yes, that other NFL role-model–leaving bruises and welts on his four-year-old with a tree branch. All right, I’ll concede that humiliating a child among his peers and using childhood cruelty as a tool of discipline might be preferable to putting your child in the hospital because you beat the crap out of him. I will not concede that those are the only options, or that African American parents are so devoid of imagination and compassion that the only forms of discipline they can envision are forms of cruelty.
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Criminal Charges For Web-Shaming? Sure.

Gee, I wonder why that kid is a bully?

Gee, I wonder why that kid is a bully?

Police in Winter Garden, Florida have arrested and charged Christle Prado and her, ah, “roommate” for forcing her 10-year-old son to wear a dress, and then posting photos on Facebook to humiliate him. Discipline, you see; he had wet his bed.

The model mom and Keith Driscoll were charged with cruelty toward children and infliction of mental injury on a child.

Good.

I’ve written about web-shaming children before, and characterized it as child abuse, which it is. A maxim here is that when ethics fail, the law must take over. It is a poor second option, but for this couple and those like them, including the parents of the boy in the photo to the left, it is a necessary and an ethical one.

Police learned about the abuse after one of the boy’s relative saw posted photos of the boy dressed as a girl and wearing makeup. He was crying. I wonder how many of Prado’s friends “liked” those photos on Facebook? Prado told police that Driscoll came up with the idea to dress her son like a girl as a way to discipline him, went along with it because she “did not want to cause problems with her living situation.”  Oh, well, that’s all right then, ma’am—you can go now. Driscoll, you see, is her sleep-in landlord.

Yechhh. I wonder what else she’ll do to her son to keep that cozy relationship peaceful? Cigarette burns? Whipping? Water-boarding?

The child cruelty charge is a second-degree felony. I’m all in favor of expanding such charges to apply to the parents who post photos of children holding signs that read “I pooped on the floor” and other self-incriminating screeds compsed by mom and dad, even those who aren’t doing it to interfere with their sex-for-rent arrangements. In fact, I’d expand it to include those Jimmy Kimmel fans who make YouTube videos of their children crying because their Christmas gift appeared to be old sweat socks or broccoli, in the hopes that Jimmy will make their exploitation of their own kids go viral. (An excellent discussion of everything that is wrong with child-shaming on the web can be found here.)

Using the web to humiliate your powerless children—forever, remember—is wrong, but if parents are so stupid, cruel and ethically inert that they can’t fathom this basic Golden Rule principle, it should be illegal too.

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Pointer: Fark

Facts: WFTV

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