More on Jose Canseco's subpoena

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Canseco testifying.jpgThe New York Times has an article on the grand jury subpoena Jose Canseco tweeted about yesterday.  Three takeaways:

A lawyer for Canseco said Tuesday that he had been contacted three weeks
ago by a federal prosecutor in Washington who was seeking to serve
Canseco with a subpoena. The prosecutor wanted Canseco to testify before
a grand jury that is investigating whether Clemens committed perjury
when he testified before Congress in February 2008 and denied using
steroids and human growth hormone, the lawyer Greg Emerson said.

Since Canseco knew what this was about beforehand, it means that the shock and surprise in his tweets yesterday was phony, and no doubt calculated for publicity purposes. Should have known better given that he’s the kind of guy who likes to call press conferences every time another player is outed as a steroid user.  Someone remind of this the next time I play up Canseco’s tweets, OK?  Also:

Canseco has repeatedly spoken and written of his own drug use and has
linked several ballplayers to performance-enhancing drugs in two books.
However, he has not directly tied Clemens to the use of illegal
substances. In the book “Vindicated,” which was published in 2008, Canseco said that
he had concluded that Clemens did not use steroids or H.G.H.

I had forgotten that Canseco largely defended — or at least did not directly implicate — Roger Clemens with respect to steroid use in his book and in an affidavit connected to the Clemens congressional testimony. In the comments yesterday a lot of you referenced Canseco’s track record for apparent honesty when it comes to PED allegations.  But couldn’t Canseco’s grand jury testimony end up challenging what most of you think of Clemens and/or Canseco?

After all, if Jose sticks to what he said previously, Clemens’ story is bolstered somewhat, no? I mean, Jose has the goods on everyone, it seems, and given that Roger and Jose were closer that Jose and most of the other people he named, if Canseco says Clemens didn’t do PEDs, doesn’t that mean something?  At the same time, if Canseco ends up implicating Clemens before the grand jury — contradicting what he’s said on numerous occasions — does it not throw into question all of the other non-confirmed claims in the books he wrote and the interviews he gave?  Finally:

Emerson was present when Canseco met with federal agents in April 2008,
two months after the Congressional committee asked the Department of
Justice to investigate Clemens for perjury. At the meeting, Canseco was asked about Clemens’s use of
performance-enhancing drugs and reiterated that he had no knowledge,
Emerson said. Canseco was also asked about Alex Rodriguez’s ties to performance-enhancing drugs and that of other
high-profile baseball players, the lawyer said.

For those keeping score at home, Alex Rodriguez will be questioned by federal agents on Friday. Less than two weeks later, Jose Canseco will be in front of a grand jury where, presumably, he will once again be asked questions about Alex Rodriguez, just as he was in 2008 (and believe me, if a grand jury witness has ever been questioned about something by federal agents before, the prosecutor will ask him about it again).

Hey Mike Lupica! Still want to take shots at A-Rod for “lawyering up? Because from where I’m sitting, A-Rod’s decision to consult with counsel before heading up to Buffalo the day after tomorrow seems like a pretty savvy move if you ask me.

Brewers won’t punish Josh Hader for offensive tweets

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Some old tweets of Josh Hader‘s surfaced during the All-Star Game on Tuesday, containing offensive and hateful language. Major League Baseball responded by ordering Hader to attend sensitivity training and attend diversity initiatives.

The Brewers won’t punish Hader themselves, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. GM David Stearns says the club is taking its lead from MLB, which has already handed down its punishment to Hader. Additionally, the Brewers’ lack of punishment has to do with the tweets occurring when Hader was younger — 17 years old — and not involved with professional baseball.

Stearns also said of Hader’s tweets, “I don’t think they’re representative of who he is. I think they’re offensive. I think they’re ill-informed and ignorant but I don’t think they represent who he is as a person right now.” Stearns added, “I don’t know how he’s going to work through it. The truth is he has put himself in this situation. And he’s going to have to work very hard to get through it.”

Hader apologized on Wednesday, saying, “I was 17 years old, and as a child I was immature, and obviously I said some things that were inexcusable. That doesn’t reflect on who I am as a person today.” Hader said, “I’m deeply sorry for what I’ve said. I’m ready for any consequences that happen for what happened seven years ago.”

Lorenzo Cain, a black outfielder and teammate of Hader’s, said, “I know Hader; he’s a great guy. I know he’s a great teammate. I’m fine. Everybody will be O.K. We’ll move on.” Cain further defended Hader, saying, “We’ve all said crazy stuff growing up, even when we were 17, 18 years old. If we could follow each other around with a recorder every day, I’m sure we all said some dumb stuff. We’re going to move on from this.”

First baseman Jesús Aguilar also came to Hader’s defense:

However, Aguilar also retweeted a tweet from Scott Wheeler of The Athletic which had screencaps of Royals 2B/OF Whit Merrifield and Angels outfielder Mike Trout using the word “gay” pejoratively in tweets. Merrifield also used the word “retard” pejoratively.

The “he was 17” defense rings hollow. At 17 years old, one is able to join the military, get a full driver’s license (in many states), apply for student loans, and get married (in some states). Additionally, one is not far off from being able to legally buy cigarettes and guns. Given all of these other responsibilities we give to teenagers, asking them not to use racial and homophobic slurs is not unreasonable. Punishing them when they do so is also not unreasonable.

A study from several years ago found that black boys are viewed as older and less innocent than white boys. A similar study from last year found that black girls are viewed as less innocent than white girls. Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Cameron Tillman, among many others, never got the benefit of the doubt that Hader and countless other white kids have gotten and continue to get in our society. When we start giving the same benefit of the doubt to members of marginalized groups, then we can break out the “but he was only 17” defense for Hader.

We also need to ask ourselves what our inaction regarding Hader’s words will say to members of those marginalized communities. Will it tell them that we value the comfort of those in power above everyone else? Will it tell members of marginalized groups that they are not welcome? In this case, it absolutely will. It communicates the message that, as long as you are white and can perform athletic feats, there’s no level of bigotry the league won’t tolerate. Furthermore, as the league and its 30 individual teams make more efforts towards inclusiveness with events like “Pride Night,” the inaction comes off as two-faced and hypocritical. This is why Major League Baseball — and the Brewers — should have done more to respond to Hader’s tweets.