THE WINNING PITCH-February, 2000
Here I am sitting at my computer and flipping through the latest news
about John Rocker. As of this moment, the appeal by the player's
association hasn't been finalized. I have been doing my best to keep my
mouth shut about this issue because I know that anyone who has anything to
say to defend Rocker will be labeled a racist, a bigot, and insensitive to
However, my desire to defend the Constitution of this country compels me
to again speak up. The only thing John Rocker is guilty of is STUPIDITY.
He has broken no law. His right to free speech is protected by the
Every other athlete I will mention in this column has broken a law. Not
John Rocker. Bud Selig, the commissioner of Major League Baseball has
suspended Mr. Rocker for all of spring training and continuing through the
end of April. To add to the lunacy, Rocker was additionally fined
$20,000.00 and ordered to undergo sensitivity training.
Are we not supposed to notice that the Emperor has no clothes?
I have spoken on this issue many times in the past. I believe that
people who play the race card in this society are in it for the money.
Racism is a concept that promotes conflict and keeps a lot of people
employed. There is only one Race on this planet. The race of man.
Currently, people who use the term racism, try as hard as they can to
reduce intolerance to a matter of skin color. If our government created a
law that forced people to procreate children with a person of a different
color, in a few years we could all be purple. Ignorant people will still
choose to hate somebody for a new reason.
As soon as we created laws in an attempt to wipe out racism, we had
opened the gate for every other potential form of ignorance. This
country is currently giving birth to laws that are based on special
categories of "hate." When you reduce hate to its lowest common
denominator, it boils down to one being's unwillingness to share space
with another being. A million more laws and regulations designed to force
people to be "politically correct" will not change a persons right to be
Can't we see it doesn't matter whether the target of hate is white,
brown or black? As humans we can hate people because of their sexual
preference, religious affiliation, or even if they have zits. It doesn't
take any talent to hate. Just stupidity. Guess what? Our constitution
gives us the right to be stupid.
Here are my candidates for The STUPIDITY HALL OF FAME.
In the past few years several professional athletes have killed people,
beat their wives, and been arrested for soliciting prostitution on the eve
of the Super Bowl. Does anyone remember the infamous "white house' in a
major city where the resident football players went to snort cocaine and
In the last few months, a young football player that grew up in my area
has been charged with murdering his girlfriend, a Pro-Bowl linebacker is
currently under arrest for killing two men in a fight, and Derrick Thomas
died as the result of an injury apparently caused by his own reckless
driving. Additionally, two basketball players were drag racing on a
public street and one of them is now dead.
Every time a professional athlete steps across a line, their "players'
association" stands up for their right to be a rule breaker. Everyone
knows that once a baseball player commits an act that warrants suspension,
the first thing he does is check the schedule so that he can "do his time"
when his team plays a weak opponent.
If a league ever tries to set a standard, some scum sucking parasite
comes along and hollers "VICTIM." It doesn't matter if it is high
school, college or the pros. You know why it happens? The Constitution
says it is okay.
How many Americans alive today have ever read The Constitution? Most
people are waiting for somebody to bring out the audio tape version so
they can listen to it on the drive to the local spot to get high on this
weeks chemical "feel good."
Recently, Sandy Alomar spit in the face of an umpire and got a slap on the
wrist. Why, when Alomar was in trouble weren't the politicians demanding
he be cast off his roster? I don't remember local groups testifying at an
appeal hearing of any previous law breakers, demanding his "sentence" be
upheld. Did I hear someplace that a famous wide receiver was seen in
television footage attempting to buy drugs a few days after being charged
for possession? Where was the noise?
All of the above mentioned Stupid Acts have received minimal punishment in
relation to their transgressions. One thing is clear. They all broke
existing laws and skated off to a form of punishment that was far less
than that rendered to most citizens. This of course excludes the poor
souls who managed to bungle their deeds to the point it killed them.
Here are the facts, as I see them. John Rocker broke no law. He is then
threatened with the loss of his livelihood, fined, and forced to be
preached at by another ignorant person who thinks he or she has a solution
to hate. Worse, he is subjected to the most hateful acts that many
groups can think up, in the name of getting a little television time. The
news coverage of his story makes him more vilified than any of the real
candidates for the Stupidity Hall of Fame.
Is it possible we have another case of stupid people attacking Mr.
Rocker for the color of his skin? Or, is it because he is tall? Maybe it
is because he is left-handed. Hell, when he pitched against the Giants,
I disliked him because he was an Atlanta Brave.
However, he has the same inalienable right to freedom of speech that
allows every citizen in this country to speak his mind. He has the same
right to do the stupid acts our President committed in the White House and
remained in office. He can say the same stupid things that come out of
Jesse Jackson's mouth when a football coach is fired. John Rocker has the
right to profess his dislike of people, just like we all do.
The difference is that most of us know that there will be consequences if
we reveal our moments of intolerance. John Rocker should have to be
uncomfortable in his club house. He should have to deal with other
athletes who don't like what he said. However, if professional sports
teams have chosen to ignore real crimes committed by their players, they
reveal how sick they are if they chose to punish John Rocker in any manner
for exercising his right to be STUPID.
Freedom creates a tremendous amount of responsibility. Only
irresponsible people want to create a legal system that is so
restrictive that citizens can't express their stupidity. Hitler created
one. Lenin did it. History is filled with a long list of candidates who
have created systems to legislate equality. Have we forgotten that this
country was founded by people running away from someone elses definition
I'm sure the British thought our idea of a democratic republic was
stupid. I think it has worked better than anything else I have
studied. I know that we are on dangerous ground in the way this country
is dealing with John Rocker. I'm glad the Founding Fathers understood the
vitality of freedom of speech as well as warning about the terrible
responsibility it would place on future generations.
I'm also sure they are not proud of what we have become. Drug abuse.
Spouse abuse. Alcohol abuse. Umpire abuse. Child abuse. Self abuse. Fan
abuse. The list has been fertilized and is growing.