If Everth Cabrera “duped” you, you have only yourself to blame

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Last year, when Everth Cabrera was caught up in the Biogenesis stuff, Union-Tribune writer Matt Calkins wrote a weird column. He was prepared to totally rip Cabrera for using PEDs — he was really gonna let him have it! — but then Cabrera cried at his press conference and all was forgiven. Today, a couple of days after we learned that Cabrera was arrested for a DUI, Calkins says he was duped:

Man, do I feel cheated . . . On its own, this was an irresponsible action. But when juxtaposed against that tearful mea culpa last year, this is, quite simply, a disgrace.

I’m not going to waste a word defending Cabrera here because there is no defense to driving while impaired. I will, however, note, that the only person Calkins has to blame for him feeling duped is himself.

He notes that, last year, when he was going to bury Cabrera, his “tolerance for cheaters was spent. In an era where PEDs carried such a glaring stigma, I felt that conscious users should be cast off into oblivion with no sympathy or forgiveness.” Then Cabrera’s waterworks started and he felt better.

If one had anything approaching a reasonable view of PEDs and the Biogenesis case, one would’ve probably noted that Cabrera’s tearful apology was overwrought and disproportionate. Or that any public statement on a matter like that has, by now, become pretty meaningless in the grand scheme. We know players lie and serve themselves in such situations by now. We know — or should know, anyway — that the words they say about it one way or another are all part of a grand dance of blame shifting and/or accommodating a public bloodlust for PED users that is silly.

But Calkins buys the notion that PED use is the worst possible thing, so he was totally willing to believe that it could — and should! — inspire real tears. That’s why he suddenly had such a good feeling about Cabrera. He finally agreed with Calkins about how dire it was to take some HGH or whatever! He bought what Cabrera was selling because it conformed with his world view that PEDs are so bad it should make grown men cry.

If Calkins had a more realistic view of the world and of people, perhaps he would’ve been a bit more dubious last year. Perhaps he would’ve remembered that this was the same Cabrera who had been arrested for domestic violence the year before and perhaps he wouldn’t feel so betrayed by a legitimate offense like his DUI now. But he didn’t. He let PEDs cloud everything about a person’s worth and morality and allowed himself to fall into a trap in which good and bad are defined by that particular subject.

How about this: going forward, why don’t we judge men on what they do, not on what they say. And why don’t we judge what they do on a reasonable basis, so as not to gloss over the truly bad stuff and overreact to stuff that is not as bad. Let us not say that an athlete is super evil for PEDs such that when he shows tearful contrition over it, we think that he has repudiated super evil behavior. That way, when real bad behavior happens, we can judge it on a reasonable scale.

Nationals’ major leaguers to continue offering financial assistance to minor leaguers

Sean Doolittle
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
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On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.

After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.

Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.

The full statement:

Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.

We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.

We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.

Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.