Dodgers vice chairman Steve Soboroff probably needs to be fired

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Frank McCourt hired Steve Soboroff as his Vice Chairman a couple of weeks ago. His mission: to help the Dodgers get their security situation in order in the wake of the Bryan Stow beating.  His real job since that time: to be a McCourt mouthpiece in his battle with Major League Baseball. Indeed, one of his first acts was to try to shamelessly score some P.R. points against MLB using Dodgers’ security as pretext.

The Los Angeles Times reports that he was at it again yesterday, only this time he decided to tell an outright lie rather than merely spin hypothetical scenarios.  Specifically, he told several media outlets that Tom Schieffer, the trustee appointed by Major League Baseball to run the team, did not respond promptly to a request from the Dodgers’ general counsel for upgraded stadium security in the wake of the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed.

The only problem: it was a lie. Schieffer responded via email within two minutes of the request, granting it. Frank McCourt apologized late yesterday, admitting that Soboroff’s claim was baloney. Soboroff has not commented. Which is understandable, because what is he gonna say? “I hereby retract the bullsh** statement I made that was clearly calculated to make it seem like Schieffer is not on top of his duties in overseeing the Dodgers. I will attempt to offer less baldly false propaganda in my efforts to help Mr. McCourt keep his team in the future”?

Frank McCourt has said a lot of things in the past week in an effort to make it seem like he’s still in charge of the Dodgers. Here’s one thing that might actually work, Frank: fire your buddy Soboroff.

Or not. After all, when the team doesn’t make payroll at the end of the month and MLB takes over, they’re gonna fire him anyway.

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.