Ten Further Thoughts On The “The Taunting Girls Softball Team”
Well! I returned from my seminar to find an excellent discussion underway regarding this Morning’s Ethics Warm-up, wholly devoted to the Virginia girls softball team that was hammered mercilessly for the raised middle fingers of six teammates to send off their vanquished foes in the semi-finals. Here are some further thoughts after reading the comments:
1. There is no question that the conduct of the girls concerned the game, the sport, and the League. They were in uniform. The message directed the “up yours” gesture to the other team. This is not a case where personal expression via social media was punished by an outside authority. Ethics Alarms has been profuse in its rejections of efforts by schools to punish students for their language, ideas or other expression on platforms like Facebook and Snapchat. Those are clearly, in my view, abuses of power, parental authority and free expression. This is not like such cases in any way. If a cheerleader squad, wearing the uniforms, colors and emblems of a school, behaved like these girls, punishment by the school would be appropriate, right up to the “death sentence” of dissolving the squad.
2. Would the reaction to the photo be different if it were a boy’s team? I just don’t think so.
3. The comparison has been made to the earlier post about Matt Joyce, a major league player, being suspended by the league for a comment made to one fan during a game in a heated exchange. For the life of me, I cannot figure out what anyone would think is similar about the two episodes, the primary difference being the fact that in one case, an adult was disciplined for professional misconduct on the field of play, and in the other, children were disciplined for breaching conduct their sport and organization exists in part to teach, reinforce and convey. The punishment of the player was $60,000 in lost income for a single word, not broadcast via social media. The team was not punished except to have to play without his services for two games, but then it was not colorably a team offense by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t even want to think about what an MLB team would do to six players who, in uniform, made the same gesture the girls did to “our fans.” They might all get released. Continue reading
Finally, A 2017 Inspiring Ethics Story! A 5th Grade Basketball Team Teaches Adults About Priorities And Values
I love this story out of New Jersey.
A Catholic Youth Organization 5th grade basketball team out of Clark, New Jersey had played all season with an 11-child roster including nine boys and two girls. In late January the director of the CYO league informed the team that the word had come down from the archdiocese that playing as a coed team offended Jesus or something and thus violated league protocol T team would either have to remove the two girls from the team or forfeit the rest of its season.
The adults running the team had screwed up, you see.
Oops. Sorry kids. Our bad, you pay for it.
These options were unacceptable, and any 10-year old would see it. In fact, any 10-year old did. Continue reading
Ethics Dunce: Marcia Clark
“I did not want [Simpson] to try on the evidence gloves. I never did,” failed O.J. prosecutor Marcia Clark tells”Dateline NBC” in a TV special airing this week. “That was [Darden’s] call. … I was miserable from the moment that Chris said, ‘No, I’m doing this.’ And I never expected anything good to come of it.”
Unbelievable. How petty, unfair and low of Clark at this late date to start trying to blame others on the prosecuting team for losing a murder case that should have been won! It is decades later, the story is part of U.S. legal, racial and cultural lore, and everyone has known that Darden was tricked into the bloody gloves trap by Johnnie Cochran for almost all of that time. There is no justification for Clark to turn on her colleague now. Continue reading
Ethics Quiz: Honoring The Dead and Deadly Team Mate
When they take the field in Spring Training and for the rest of the 2015 baseball season, the St. Louis Cardinals will be wearing a memorial patch reading “OT” in honor of outfielder Oscar Taveras, the 22-year-old budding star outfielder who died in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic last October. Such mourning patches have become common since 1972, when the Pittsburgh Pirates moved beyond the traditional black armband to a personalized patch following the tragic death of the team’s Hall of Fame outfielder Roberto Clemente in a plane crash, as he was flying humanitarian aid to Nicaragua.
Taveras, however, unlike Clemente, died in an act of reckless stupidity that took not only his own life but that of his 18-year-old girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo, as well. Toxicology tests showed that his blood alcohol level was five times the legal limit before the crash. situation is more complex because toxicology tests showed that his blood alcohol level at the time of his death was five times the legal limit. Moreover, Taveras’, also was killed in the crash. If Taveras had lived and Arvelo alone had died, he would have been prosecuted for manslaughter.
And thus your first Ethics Alarms Baseball Ethics Quiz of 2015 is this:
Is it ethical for the Cardinals to publicly honor Taveras with a uniform patch?
Ethics Dunce: The Washington Post
Here is another reason Why Our Children Will Grow Up To Be Cheats And Liars: ethically obtuse thinking like that expressed by the Washington Post editors this morning.
Yet the Post’s editors are aghast, writing, “The fact is they punished a group of children who did everything right, on and off the field — punished them for the sins of adults who did wrong and an organization that was willfully oblivious.”
Yup. That’s the way life works. That’s the way it has to work and has always worked, and the sooner children learn that lesson, the less likely they are to grow up as ethically muddled as the adults who write Post editorials. Continue reading
Ethics Dunce: Ex-Washington Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman
Jim Riggleman is a major league baseball manager of modest accomplishments, one of the forty or so men in the rotating pool that teams will use to fill manager vacancies with low-risk options rather than try someone promising but with little experience. He had a one-year contract with the hapless Washington Nationals that included a team option for a second, which the manager felt the team should pick up now, rather than at the end of the season.
Riggleman believed that he had some leverage. The Nationals have been surging since star third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has returned from an injury, and are, for the first time in the team’s short time in Washington (they were once the Montreal Expos), flirting with a winning record more than half-way through the schedule. But as is often the case with players when a club option is involved, the Nationals saw no reason to make a decision on Riggleman’s contract until the season was over. A lot can happen in three months. General manager Mike Rizzo told Riggleman he would just have to wait. That’s what a team option is, after all. The team’s option. Continue reading
For non-fans with the imagination to explore them, the Ethics Alarms baseball posts usually involve interesting ethics issues that are relevant to other fields. Perhaps no such post exemplifies this more than the recent essay reacting to a controversy after the 2019 World Series. The favored Houston Astros had lost in shocking fashion to the underdog Washington Nationals in a dramatic seventh game, and its ace pitcher, Gerrit Cole, apparently couldn’t wait to shed his Astros jersey and announce his free agency, which is widely expected to provide him with more than a third of a billion dollars. While the rest of his team was consoling each other and licking their wounds, Cole donned the cap of his super-agent’s company, and proclaimed that he was no longer on the team.
Ethics Alarms veteran commentator Glenn Logan was previously a distinguished sports blogger—though concentrating on college basketball, not baseball—and he authored the following Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethics Dunce And Revealed Jerk: Former Houston Astros Pitcher Gerrit Cole”: