TMZ reports that Roberto Osuna was heckled in the bullpen during Game 3 of the ALDS on Monday. The heckler reportedly yelling things such as, “Do you remember baseball before you committed domestic violence?”
Osuna did not respond at all to the heckler, but teammate Ryan Pressly jumped to his defense. He was seen on video responding to the heckler, saying, “Stop, stop, stop … I don’t care what you say. You can talk all the sh– you want. Just don’t bring that stuff up.”
The heckler responded, suggesting Osuna should be able to handle the criticism because he’s a professional. Pressly responded, “He’s trying to be a professional … but you’re coming over here being a d–khead, dude.” Before walking away, Pressly said to the heckler, “You’re f–king soft.”
The whole situation could have been avoided by simply ignoring the heckler. Pressly jumped into a controversial arena, one other members of the Astros probably wish they hadn’t stumbled into. Pressly’s use of “that stuff” to refer to Osuna’s domestic violence allegation is revealing. We create euphemisms to soften the blow of harsh language. The late George Carlin has a great bit on this. By euphemizing domestic violence, Pressly reveals he understands the seriousness of Osuna’s alleged offense. To then continue to defend his teammate — and, remember, Pressly has no greater access to information than anybody else, despite his proximity to Osuna — is a calculated decision and it shows that Pressly value his teammate’s comfort over social consequences for his alleged offense.
Baseball’s culture of coddling (alleged) abusers can easily be changed, but it starts with individual actors. On the spectrum with disavowal at one end and approval at the other, ignoring the heckler is right in the middle. Offering a full-throated, one-minute defense is way at the approval end. Not euphemizing domestic abuse moves the needle a little bit towards the disavowal end, and even that would have felt like a small victory. That’s how low the bar is for those involved in professional sports to stand up against domestic abuse, and yet Pressly very much failed to clear it, as have many other members of the Astros organization in recent months.
(Tip of the cap to Jack Baer of Yahoo Sports. No relation.)