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Former players express displeasure with MLB’s new anti-hazing rule

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Update (7:51 PM EST): The Associated Press has some more quotes, including from Mets GM Sandy Alderson and Rockies GM Jeff Bridich.

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On Monday, the Associated Press reported that, as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, Major League Baseball has banned “offensive” hazing, referring to the tradition in which veteran baseball players make their rookie teammates dress up like women as a method of — they claim — “team bonding.”

We’ve covered the topic here many times before. In short, the practice is misogynistic, transphobic, and homophobic. Breaking down the humor of the ritual illuminates this fact. The point of making a male teammate dress up like a woman and/or wearing a pink backpack is to make him feminine. Femininity, compared to masculinity, is worse in their eyes; weaker. A lot of defenders of the tradition counter with, “It’s just making them different.” But when shown the myriad other ways they can make their teammate “different,” such as dressing up like a superhero, they reveal how singularly focused they are on humiliating rookies in this very specific way.

Unsurprisingly, some retired players are expressing their displeasure over the new anti-hazing rule.

There were a couple players who were happy about the new rule. Nationals pitcher Shawn Kelley:

And former slugger Carlos Pena:

Last month, multiple prospects in the Rangers’ minor league system were accused of sexually assaulting a teammate in a hazing incident. That incident has ties to the dress-up style of hazing done in the majors. The point of assaulting their teammate in the way that they did was to emasculate him. Even if the dress-up shenanigans were as innocent as its supporters claim — and it isn’t — ending that will also help to stem more serious styles of hazing down the road by eroding the culture.

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

Sean Doolittle
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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.