Why players don’t speak out on social issues

Associated Press

Adam Jones wading into the Colin Kaepernick stuff the other day was notable because baseball players don’t often wade into controversial topics, be they political, social or what have you. They don’t for a lot of reasons. Many are likely apolitical, as are a lot of people. Some simply don’t want the scrutiny talking about such matters inevitably inspires.

Over at ESPN former MLBer Doug Glanville spoke with several current and former players, asking them about the calculus involved in speaking out publicly on social and political issues and the perils doing so can often bring. A notable takeaway is that, beyond merely not being political or not enjoying criticism, players are concerned with their message being misconstrued by misleading or context-free headlines and/or the difficulty of communicating complex thoughts on social media. I’d ad that communicating a complex thought is hard on TV and the radio as well, given that they work primarily on the eight second soundbite model.

We saw this even with Adam Jones’ thing the other day. The reporter, Bob Nightengale of USA Today, did a great job in giving Jones room to breathe in his article. He set forth multiple long quotes, allowing Jones to explain his views, without a lot of interjection or summing up. It was exactly how such a thing should be handled.

What happened, however? One small sentence that was not representative of the entirety of his comments was slapped on top and has led the conversation:


Yes, Jones said that and yes he stands behind it. But there was a LOT of context to those words that, based on my conversations and arguments with people over the past few days, has been totally lost on them. People read headlines and summaries of stories more often than they read entire stories. Their takeaway here was that Jones said an inflammatory and, to some anyway, racist thing. The rest of his comments were dismissed or ignored completely and a very polarizing debate ensued despite the fact that the entirety of Jones’ comments were nuanced, thoughtful and the complete opposite of inflammatory.

Some players want to simply stick to baseball. Some don’t. But I bet a whole lot more wouldn’t if they had any confidence that their message would be accurately conveyed and fairly received. It very rarely is.

Brian Cashman signs 4-year contract to remain Yankees GM

Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO — Brian Cashman has signed a four-year contract to remain the New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. The announcement was made during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings.

Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement since early November, when his five-year contract expired.

The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.

Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge.

Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.

While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager since 1998. He has been with the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year old intern in the scouting department. In his 25 seasons as GM, the Yankees have reached the postseason 21 times, including four World Series championships and six American League titles.