“Imagine to try and shut the Mets
“Imagine having to take the (No.) 7 train to (Shea Stadium) looking like you’re (in) Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids.It’s depressing.”The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners,” the 25-year-old Georgia native said. “You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?” These were the words spoken from Atlanta Braves Pitcher John Rocker in a December issue of Sports Illustrated. Those powerful lines are what people are chatting over. “Should we forgive him, or should we throw him in jail”? Those are only a couple opinions that are swirling around on what Major League Baseball should do. I, in no way agree with what Mr. Rocker is saying, however he is being treated is fair.
In order to fully understand where Mr. Rocker was coming from, we have to go back to the MLB Playoffs. The Cinderella New York Mets take the Braves into extra innings in the 5th game of the National League Playoffs. In comes John Rocker, bursting with energy to try and shut the Mets down and take the Braves to the World Series. The Mets had other ideas and laced a couple base hits off Rocker, which eventually lead to the homerun that ended the game. Then when the Braves made it to the World Series, Rocker faced more harsh words from the New York Yankee’s fans. The yelling and objects cascaded down from the stands whenever Rocker was out there. This threw his game off, and once again the Braves got beat in the series 4 – 0. So What? The fans where not very affectionate to Rocker, that’s their job. Rocker should be able to deal with it like a true sportsman. He had to turn around and offend every human that is not like him. Was it wrong? Yes. Did he apologize? Yes, at least a dozen times, but to some ethnic groups that have been wronged like this for hundreds of years, this is what they have been dealing with.
As the people’s outrage became more evident, Bud Selig, the commissioner of MLB, got involved. Selig gave in to the pressure and gave a demand that a mental test be performed on John Rocker. Strange, but fair. But it wasn’t over. In the following weeks he also slapped Rocker with a 20,000 dollar fine and suspended him 45 days of spring training and the first 28 days of the 2000 season. If that’s not enough, he was publicly addressed numerous times on his character as a person. People like Hank Aaron, the band Twisted Sister, and even his own teammates want nothing to do with him anymore. It also looks like he will be traded to another team. It almost seems like the life was taken from him just because he was expressing himself. Rocker has a right to express himself, but he must understand that everything has repercussions.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people
peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” This 1st amendment is what sets the United States apart from everyone else. In 1776 the Continental Congress unanimously approve this one of many rights which became the foundation of our country. And now, after hundreds of years, this right will be tested. This amendment would only protect Rocker if Major League Baseball were a public league. The law protects the public, and that is why golf clubs can choose who is a member and who isn’t, because it is private. Just like Marge Schott was suspended by major league baseball for her comments about Blacks and Jewish people. So in short, the 1st amendment won’t help Rocker in this case and is really a lost cause.
John Rocker is not a smart person for saying his feelings in a national published magazine, when he is not immune to baseball’s punishment. Although some of the actions handed down are harsh, I think he does deserve everything he gets. And he now has to deal with his actions. Hopefully he has learned from his admitted mistake.