Volume 93, Issue 70

Thursday, February 3, 1999


Fairing well from court to court

Hockey night at Western

Not enough penalties for Rocker

Not enough penalties for Rocker

In December, Atlanta Braves relief pitcher John Rocker opened his big mouth when he shouldn't have.

Monday, Major League Baseball announced that Rocker would be suspended for almost a month of the 2000-01 baseball season, and be fined $20,000.

Rocker has come out and said the punishment was too severe in light of the fact he apologized for his comments. Critics are now saying commissioner Bud Selig is trying to keep the dying image of baseball alive through this suspension and the players union is appealing the decision. They say it is unfair to suspend a player for such a long time for some "unfortunate comments."

There was absolutely nothing unfortunate about the comments made by Rocker. The only unfortunate part of his comments was the fact that in this day and age someone could actually think that way and remain employed by the Braves organization. Since the scandal broke and Rocker subsequently apologized, unidentified players on the Braves have come out and said Rocker never associated with any player of colour.

So does Rocker deserve the suspension?

Of course he does, he deserves far worse for his disgusting comments – but will he receive it? Probably not considering the owner of the team, Ted Turner, has said the comments Rocker made were not that bad.

It's unfortunate Rocker will still be able to be employed in the league despite the fact his neck is redder than a fire truck. It seems in the new age of sport, honour means nothing and if a pitcher can throw a 95 mile per hour fastball, his stupidity can be over looked.

And even though Rocker can remain employed by a MLB team, who would want to be his teammate? Some would argue Rocker was exercising his freedom of speech, but how does that make what he said better, or make his teammates feel comfortable around him?

I may sound naive, but I honestly believe Rocker should be thrown off the Braves roster. His comments were not about New York, or even said as a joke. These were the honest assertions of a man with his head in some stupid racist sphere. How can anyone think that way?

Rocker has shown the world has not come as far as we would like to believe. He was stupid enough to vocalize sentiments which, although possibly held by many Americans and Canadians, are still wrong.

Growing up I was told about the importance of treating people equally, regardless of their race, colour or creed. Reading Rocker's comments saddened me because I have this idealistic view racism is slowly diminishing. My only complaint about the suspension is that the fine is not large enough. He will still be paid even though he is not playing, which will amount to between $200,000 and $300,000. Rocker should have been suspended without pay.

Let me put it this way – if the MLB would not allow Rose in the Hall of Fame because of allegedly gambling on baseball, then, morally, Rocker should never be able to play the game again.

He made a decision to utter his racist comments and should suffer the consequences for those actions. Selig didn't go far enough.

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