never did i expect that there would be even the slightest modicum of controversy here on Baseball Blog 2002, but apparently you cant get away with calling John Rocker a racist these days without getting called out, and you know what, that’s fine with me.
i have the most intelligent, insightful readers here on this page and for that im grateful, but bro…
i dont care how drunk the reporter got Rocker, or how many drugs he fed him, or whatever the Rocker apologists are saying that has convinced some that the lefty was hoodwinked by the “big city ‘Sports Illustrated'” reporter back in December of ’99, but unless youre a brain-dead cocky redneck, naive as all hell, you do not, under any circumstance say these sorts of things to any reporter:
“The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners. I’m not a very big fan of foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?”
And you certainly dont call your African-American teammate, Randall Simon, “a fat monkey,” and not expect a few people, including yours truly, to assume that you’re a piece of shit racist.
I don’t care too much about what the mayor of Atlanta, Andrew Young, had to say about Rocker and his family, I don’t take too many things that politicians, even accomplished ones like Young, say in public, because, unlike Rocker, Young’s job is to say the right things.
I care about what guys like Simon had to say.
“I swear to you if he said that to my face I’d tear him up, and one of us would be suspended right now,” Simon responded in 2000.
Here’s something that might surprise you, though– as a proud African-American male, I couldnt give a shit if John Rocker was a racist, homophobe, redneck, 6’4″ bully, who’d been pampered and excused his whole worthless life because he was born left-handed.
If I had a baseball team and he could throw strikes and get people out, I would hire him to play on my team. It is not my job to tell people how to think or act or what to believe in, if I was a GM or a team president, I would say, “yep, I got the racist in the bullpen and I hope he strikes out the stoners that he’ll face.”
I am proud to be an American and live in a country where guys like Rocker can spout their ignorant mouths off and where millions of fans can give it right back to him. I thought it was wrong that Rocker was fined and suspended for his statements. The public wrath was plenty.
No, I dont think he was a victim of the journalist who drove with him through Atlanta as he reeled off a series of slurs that you’d expect from any number of southern-bred frat boys. I also dont think he was a victim of the surroundings where he grew up in. I think he was a victim of having the inability to listen to the best pitching coach in modern history and the victim of having the inability to learn from some of the finest pitchers to ever climb the mound.
Do I care that many – mostly white – fans came to his defense when he came under constant fire for speaking his mind about “queers” and “foreigners”? Not at all. I fail to see where a pitcher who had two decent seasons could inspire someone who was not already a racist, sexist, ignoramous, to aquire those beliefs.
Am I happy that he has struggled mightilly over the last few seasons? Fuck yeah.
Why should I want to see someone so hateful, predictable, and juvenile prosper and become a rich and famous in the very country that was made stronger by its diversity?
Be they Asians or Koreans, Vietnamese or Indians, Russians, Spanish people, or thick-necked goons, this country has become the best place in the world because of (not inspite of) the melding of cultures and differences in thought – but that doesn’t mean that I have to root for assholes.
The nature of competitve professional sports doesnt always reward or breed the gentleman, but there is no reason why we should champion the intentional imbecile.
And despite my learned reader who might think otherwise, the only person who fucked John Rocker was himself.
Which, ironically, was the advice I yelled to the reliever from the stands not too long ago.