doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Two standards …

I distinctly remember a first meeting of our football team and how our head coach addressed things.  One thing, in particular, is important for this post.

“Listen up” – it’s a football coach thing

“When you’re on this team, your actions are representative of the team.  As well, you are a student at this school and your actions are representative of the school.  If you get suspended for any reason, you will also be suspended from football practices and games for the same length of time.”

I talked with the head coach afterwards and showed some praise for delivering the message.  I was informed that it was no big deal; it is in the student handbook and he was just repeating it.

Last night, I was watching the baseball game.  Normally, I’d watch the international broadcast on Sportsnet but the television was already on Fox so I just watched the game there.

It was relatively early in the broadcast when the broadcasters started to talk about the incident in the previous game.  A Houston player had made a racist gesture and used a derogatory term in reference to a player on the other team.  (Names intentionally omitted because they’re not important to this post.)  All of this was caught on video and, if you’re interested, you can track it down and see what happened.

Then, the conversation turned to the consequences for the incident.  Now, in my school, something like this would have been on the higher end of the penalty spectrum.  In this case, the broadcasters speculated on what might happen.  This morning, on the MLB website, we can see what will happen.

In this case, the offender will be suspended for five games at the beginning of the next season.

The rationale:

it was “unfair to punish the other 24 players on the Astros’ roster” during the World Series. “I wanted the burden of the discipline to fall primarily on the wrongdoer,”

So, being part of a team is applicable only some of the time?  Particularly in Major League Baseball with players from all over the world playing to a world-wide audience, behaviour like this can’t be accepted at any level.  A penalty needed to be applied immediately.

We wouldn’t accept anything else in schools; why should it be different elsewhere?


3 responses to “Two standards …”

  1. This makes me think of discussions I’ve had with parents before. We speak about the need to addresss problems (and even consider consequences) and the time when the problems happen, as then the consequences are meaningful to that child. How meaningful will this consequence be to the player when so far removed from when the incident happened?



  2. So if this was a kid in elementary school it would be ‘yes you can still go on the big year end field trip but we’ll suspend you for five days in September.’


  3. agreed. If we are willing to put off the punishment, then we’re saying “it doesn’t really matter”. If it mattered, the suspension would come now, when it matters to the team, and might serve as a deterrent to others. I still struggle with the fact that adults (even in the heat of the moment) feel that it’s okay to throw this kind of racism out there. It’s appalling, and needs to be zero tolerance.


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