On Monday, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig suspended Atlanta Braves pitcher
John Rocker until May 1 as punishment for his statements against
ethnic minorities, immigrants and homosexuals.
Jeff Bower: This is patently absurd. It certainly seems that the
repercussions from fans and players are more than adequate punishment for
the "crime" and act as an adequate deterrent.
Rany Jazayerli: The problem with the Rocker situation transcends
MLB, in my opinion. If Selig hadn’t suspended him, there would have been a
public outcry that would have so surpassed the nature of the crime as to
That doesn’t excuse the decision, but it explains it. I wouldn’t even mind
it so much if it weren’t for the inevitable lack of punishment handed out
to Bobby Chouinard. Was Wil Cordero suspended at all for his
domestic violence charge? I don’t think so, though I can’t recall whether
he was formally convicted on those charges either.
(Ed. note.: Cordero was never suspended.)
Anyway, the MLBPA is going to file a protest, and I’d think there’s a good
chance an arbitrator will turn this over. Which, come to think of it, may
be what Selig wants after all: Rocker gets off, and his hands are clean.
Michael Wolverton: This may be too cynical, but my first thought was
that this is a labor move. By handing out such a stiff punishment, MLB has
forced the union to come down unambiguously on the side of the presumed
bigot. The union could take some PR hits as a result, and could face some
dissension from its own members.
JB: I love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, but I
can’t advance it here. It seems like it’s a given that the union is going
to support one of its own, and thus probably won’t get much, if any, bad
press by doing so.
Chris Kahrl: Hell, this makes as much sense as the Marlins trying to
get a work visa for Elian Gonzalez, in order to make him a batboy. It’s MLB
trying to make a feel-good move that ends up being totally inappropriate.
I’m with Rany. I think Czar Bud is counting on the union to get him off the
hook. MLB ends up looking politically correct, while the MLBPA ends up
doing its job.