Sports Law Blog
All things legal relating
to the sports world...
Friday, February 01, 2008
 
Blue and White?

To say this is an interesting time for the field of Sports Law is a bit of an understatement.

Now we learn Major League Baseball in its never-ending quest to taint its own product has been sending investigators out into the south to inquire whether neighbors and acquaintances of umpires know whether the men in blue have ever donned the white robes of the KKK.

This is so wrong on so many levels. As someone who watched 150 odd games last season, I can attest that at no time did I ever think any umpiring decision was racially motivated. Could the powers that be have seen anything else that could have led them to suspect such foul play?

And why just southern umpires? Does Baseball believe an umpire from Kentucky is more likely to be a racist than an umpire from Massachusetts? As Lamell McMorris, a spokesman for the World Umpires Association, aptly put it: “To try to link our umpires to the Ku Klux Klan is highly offensive. It is essentially defaming the umpires in their communities by conducting a very strange and poorly executed investigation. It resembles kind of secret police in some kind of despotic nation.”

The main offense here, as I have repeated often in this forum, is treating those in major league sports differently than the way we treat those in any other profession or the way we would ever want to be treated ourselves. Whether it is subjecting them to blood and urine tests, creating a system where entry level employees have no say in where or for whom they will work, prosecuting them for crimes which would otherwise go unprosecuted, or conducting highly offensive background checks in their neighborhoods, those in professional sports seem not only to receive tremendous compensation for their excellence but to pay plenty for it.





6 Comments:

While I am in no way condoning the actions of MLB, I don't think they were trying to find out if the umps were racist. When taken as a whole the series of questions suggests that MLB is trying to find out if any of the umpires may be involved in any off field activities which would refelct a possible connection to organized crime, gambling or other activities which would cast a negative light on the league.

Was the "KKK Question" the most offensive of the group? Yes. But we must look at all the questions to see what the league was trying to discover.

While I do not believe the questions were racially motivated I must seriously question the league's actions. Even if this type of questionning is legal under the CBA between WUA and MLB, which is doubtful, it is a risky move. As a result of issues like Questec the relationship between the parties is already shaky, why take this risk now and not just wait until 2009 when the current CBA expires?

Anonymous Ken -- 2/01/2008 7:45 PM  


I'm not too concerned when management does something to labor because that's their business and labor can assert any rights it may have under labor law, antitrust, etc. What I find really troubling is when government (judges, legislators and prosecutors) treats sports differently (athletes in particular) from other industries, and make decisions that completely defy logic:

-- Baseball has an antitrust exemption "because it stands on higher ground."

-- Players should lose the case "because they are already handsomely compensated."

-- A player spends more time in jail than she otherwise would "because she's a role model".

-- The Mitchell report comes out on a Thursday and Congress immediately decides to schedule a hearing for the following Tuesday. [One of two things happened here, both of which are concerning. Either (1) Congress had nothing to do on Tuesday, or (2) they had something scheduled on Tuesday but they think the Mitchell report deserves immediate attention and priority over whatever they had scheduled that day.]

-- A congressman publicly announces that the NFL's destroying evidence that a team stole another team's signals is analogous to destroying CIA tapes. [This one goes beyond rationality; it's actually frightening if he's serious.]

-- The Georgia House, in a landslide vote, passes a resolution to urge the NCAA to adopt a playoff system for college football. It's now going to the Georgia Senate for approval.

Blogger Rick Karcher -- 2/02/2008 8:25 AM  


"Does Baseball believe an umpire from Kentucky is more likely to be a racist than an umpire from Massachusetts?"

That is an obvious and valid assumption.

Second, if umpires, players, managers, or baseball officials are members of the KKK they sould be outed and removed from baseball--period, end of story.

PS: I live in the SF Bay Area, and I have never seen guys running arround with sheets over their heads unlike what goes on in the South and some parts of the midwest. IT IS reigional, but regardless of where the kkk live, they must be outed and eliminated.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 2/02/2008 12:54 PM  


Glad to hear from you annonymous. but you are so off base it is scary. Certainly if a player or an umpire was in the KKK, they should be outed to say the least. But there is no evidence that would justify such a worry. But to assume a southerner is more likely to be a racist or an antisemite than a San Franciscan is its own kind of prejudice.

OpenID amilst -- 2/02/2008 2:29 PM  


The entire story has been distorted and overblown. If you read the line of questions as described by the woman (the ump's neighbor) who was actually interviewed, you'll realize that no one was being sent out to ask about the KKK.

The question was "does he belong to any groups or organizations?" Which is a standard background check question. When the woman didn't follow the drift of the question, the questioner said "you know, like the KKK." Here's the important part:

"We both laughed and I said no," Rohan said. "He belongs to a neighborhood Harley-riding group of dads."

Like I said, asking about group affiliations is a typical background check question. At worst this investigator used an ill-advised but essentially harmless "f'rinstance," which the interviewee rightfully took as a humorous exaggeration.

There is no issue here, and the umps -- still upset that they're being checked in the first place -- are simply casting for some PR and sympathy.

Blogger Shyster -- 2/02/2008 8:20 PM  


Easy Get Money
1. go to the following link; http://www.AWSurveys.com/HomeMain.cfm?RefID=tutekx Join this site. It is also free. You get paid for completing surveys over there 6$ to 4$ dollars per survey and 1.25$ per referral . have a 1 year premium account and now i am collecting some exta cash .
2. Then create a paypal PREMIUM Account at this address. It is free; http://www.paypal.com or Click Here When asked for credit card details simply say cancel. You do not need to fill it . Another thing you can also use paypal money to buy stuff on ebay and other shopping sites.
3. Thats is it. So Simple and I swear it works.
4. I learnt this from another friend and i thought it will be good for my friends here. So I thought of helping
5. Try Now Klik Here

1. go to the following link; http://www.AWSurveys.com/HomeMain.cfm?RefID=tutekx Join this site. It is also free. You get paid for completing surveys over there 6$ to 4$ dollars per survey and 1.25$ per referral . have a 1 year premium account and now i am collecting some exta cash .
2. Then create a paypal PREMIUM Account at this address. It is free; ; http://www.paypal.com or Click Here When asked for credit card details simply say cancel. You do not need to fill it . Another thing you can also use paypal money to buy stuff on ebay and other shopping sites.
3. Thats is it. So Simple and I swear it works.
4. I learnt this from another friend and i thought it will be good for my friends here. So I thought of helping
5. Try Now Click Here

Blogger tutekx -- 2/07/2008 4:02 AM  


Post a Comment