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Yu Darvish reacted “graciously” to Yuli Gurriel’s racist gesture and slur. He didn’t have to.

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As we reported on earlier, Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel appeared to mock Dodgers starter Yu Darvish in a racist way after homering off of him in the second inning of Game 3 of the World Series, pulling his eyes down to slant them and saying the word, “chinito,” which translates to “little Chinese.”

After the game, Darvish tweeted a call for fans to be positive, rather than directing anger at Gurriel. He wrote, “No one is perfect. That includes both you and I. What he had done today isn’t right, but I believe we should put our effort into learning rather than to accuse him. If we can take something from this, that is a giant step for mankind. Since we are living in such a wonderful world, let’s stay positive and move forward instead of focusing on anger. I’m counting on everyone’s big love.”

Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that Darvish did find Gurriel’s behavior to be “disrespectful” and racially motivated. He believes Gurriel should be punished.

After Darvish’s message circulated around Twitter, many in the media rushed to laud Darvish for being so gracious towards Gurriel. Darvish, of course, can react as a victim of racism any way he pleases. There’s an issue, though, when society rewards victims of racism for reacting in a way that takes the heat off of the offender. To say that Darvish’s reaction was “gracious” and “classy” is also to imply that reacting differently would not be “gracious” and “classy.” Praising Darvish also puts societal pressure on other victims of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. to react in the same way. It invalidates their anger and hurt. And most victims of such bigotry don’t have the same support of a strong union, their co-workers, family, and friends, among other things. They may not be able to afford to tolerate it in the same way.

The next time a player acts in a bigoted way towards another player (or a coach or fan or anyone, really), and the target of said bigotry gets angry, people will criticize that person for not being as forgiving as Darvish was to Gurriel. That person’s response will be tone-policed.

Anger is often seen as a bad emotion. It makes one irrational, the common thought goes, and it makes other people feel uncomfortable. But anger is a perfectly valid emotion and it is a suitable response to bigotry. Oftentimes, anger is the motivation society needs to create change. Would we have given women the right to vote, desegregated, and legalized gay marriage if people responded to bigots the way Darvish did to Gurriel? Of course not. We should remember this the next time an incident like this occurs and a player doesn’t react as calmly and politely as Darvish. That reaction will be just as valid as Darvish’s.

Must-Click Link: Do the players even care about money anymore?

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Yesterday I wrote about how the union has come to find itself in the extraordinarily weak position it’s in. The upshot: their leadership and their membership, happily wealthy by virtue of gains realized in the 1970s-1990s, has chosen to focus on small, day-to-day, quality of life issues rather than big-picture financial issues. As a result, ownership has cleaned their clock in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. If the union is to ever get back the considerable amount of ground it has lost over the past 15 years, it’ll require a ton of hard work and perhaps drastic measures.

A few hours later, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan dropped an absolute must-read that expands on that topic. Through weeks of interviews with league officials, agents and players, he explains why the free agent market is as bad as it is for players right now and why so many of them and so many fans seem not to understand just how bad a spot the players are in, business wise.

Passan keys on the media’s credulousness regarding teams’ stated rationales for not spending in free agency. About how, with even a little bit of scrutiny, the “[Team] wants to get below the luxury tax” argument makes no sense. About how the claim that this is a weak free agent class, however true that may be, does not explain why so few players are being signed.  About how so few teams seem interested in actually competing and how fans, somehow, seem totally OK with it.

Passan makes a compelling argument, backed by multiple sources, that, even if there is a lot of money flowing around, the fundamental financial model of the game is broken. The young players are the most valuable but are paid pennies while players with 6-10 years service time are the least valuable yet are the ones, theoretically anyway, positioned to make the most money. The owners have figured it out. The union has dropped the ball as it has worried about, well, whatever the heck it is worried about. The killer passage on all of this is damning in this regard:

During the negotiations leading to the 2016 basic agreement that governs baseball, officials at MLB left bargaining stupefied almost on a daily basis. Something had changed at the MLBPA, and the league couldn’t help but beam at its good fortune: The core principle that for decades guided the union no longer seemed a priority.

“It was like they didn’t care about money anymore,” one league official said.

Personally, I don’t believe that they don’t care about money anymore. I think the union has simply dropped the ball on educating its membership about the business structure of the game and the stakes involved with any given rule in the CBA. I think that they either so not understand the financial implications of that to which they have agreed or are indifferent to them because they do not understand their scope and long term impact.

It’s a union’s job to educate its membership about the big issues that may escape any one member’s notice — like the long term effects of a decision about the luxury tax or amateur and international salary caps — and convince them that it’s worth fighting for. Does the MLBPA do that? Does it even try? If it hasn’t tried for the past couple of cycles and it suddenly starts to now, will there be a player civil war, with some not caring to jeopardize their short term well-being for the long term gain of the players who follow them?

If you care at all about the business and financial aspects of the game, Passan’s article is essential.