Baseball Needs to Do More About Sexual Violence

Jeurys Familia is one of four players suspended under the new domestic violence policy. (via Arturo Pardavila III)

Recently, Pablo Sandoval was designated by the Boston Red Sox for assignment, only to return to his first team, the San Francisco Giants, on a minor league deal. For some Giants fans, myself included, the homecoming was not particularly welcome, and it wasn’t just because of his rapidly eroding skill set.

In 2012, it became public that Sandoval had been accused of committing sexual assault. Though the sheriff of Santa Cruz (Calif.) County determined that Sandoval “did not sexually assault” the accuser, and no charges were filed, the incident left a bad taste in the mouths of several fans, some of whom are sexual assault survivors.

When Sandoval re-signed with the Giants, the story again made its rounds on social media, and it became increasingly evident that the incident was far more significant than it originally seemed. For many, this was the first time hearing about the accusations. But for those who knew his history — and more specifically baseball’s history — his continued presence in baseball comes as no surprise, his name joining a long list of other such players. This shock and resignation, though,  point to mechanisms in baseball that allow its players to commit violent crimes against women without facing many repercussions.

Sandoval’s sexual assault allegation is not the only one in recent baseball history. Pitcher Josh Lueke was arrested on rape charges when he was a Texas Rangers minor leaguer in Bakersfield, Calif. Lueke would go on to plead no contest to a lesser charge: false imprisonment with violence.

In 2013, two minor leaguers in the Rockies organization were charged with sexual assault. Pitchers Michael Mason and Jesse Meaux were then placed on the restricted list following the charges, but the charges were dropped in 2015. They have not pitched professionally since the arrest.

In 1992, Dwight Gooden, Daryl Boston and Vince Coleman of the New York Mets had allegations of sexual assault brought against them, but a Florida state prosecutor dismissed the case “because the case lacks corroborating evidence and comes down ‘to the word of a victim against that of three individuals’” — the three Mets players.

Mel Hall, who played major league baseball from 1981 to 1996, is currently serving 45 years in a Texas prison for sexually assaulting minors. A longform piece by SB Nation detailed the allegations that Hall preyed upon female minors during his career.

Chad Curtis, who played in the majors from 1992-2001, is currently serving seven to 15 years in Michigan on counts of sexual misconduct.

Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett was charged with false imprisonment, fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, and fifth-degree assault in 2002. He was found not guilty on all charges. After the acquittal, Minnesota Public Radio reported that “the Twins issued a statement after the verdict saying they were glad the matter was closed.”

In 2016, Jung Ho Kang of the Pittsburgh Pirates was investigated for sexual assault. In September of 2016, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the investigation was still ongoing, though police were unable to contact the accuser. As of publication, Kang is on the restricted list while serving a suspended sentence in South Korea for his third DUI. He is seeking visa help from the MLB Players Association to return to the Pirates. The Post-Gazette also reported that the sexual assault investigation has not been closed.

More recently, multiple Texas Rangers minor leaguers were charged with sexually assaulting a teammate as part of hazing. There has been no update on this case since it was reported that those charged could not leave the Dominican Republic.

In amateur baseball, prior to the College World Series and June 2017 MLB Amateur Draft, Oregon State University’s Luke Heimlich’s status as a registered sex offender was reported by The Oregonian. As a result, Heimlich went undrafted, but he is not precluded from signing with a team at a later date.

These are but a sampling of the cases we know about publicly, and keep in mind that many more have gone and will go unreported, as is the case outside baseball and/or sports. These players are not aberrations, nor are they a few rotten eggs. It’s easy and tempting to dismiss them as such, but doing so dismisses the problem of toxic masculinity in baseball.

A Hardball Times Update
Goodbye for now.

Though the specific details of each of the above cases are different, they all feature the same pattern, from the accusations themselves to the responses to both the accused and victim. In these cases, much of the focus from stories in the media and people surrounding them rests on the accused and paints them as victims who have had their lives ruined by these allegations.

Asheville defense attorney Steve Lindsay, who represented former Rockies minor leaguer Mason, was quoted saying the following after the charges were dropped: “This is a guy whose dream was to play professional baseball, and he has probably lost his baseball career forever.”

Lueke called his conviction of false imprisonment with violence “a freak accident kind of thing.” The article headline also says that Lueke was “moving forward,” as though being convicted of a violent crime was something to power through.

And yet, in each instance, there was no mention of how the survivor’s life could’ve been, and most likely was, ruined, thus leading to the allegations. Telling the story only through the eyes of the famous person is an unproductive and unhealthy pattern.

This tendency to side with the aggressors is, viewing it from the other end, a tendency to blame the victims. Specifically, when the defendant is rich or poised to become a celebrity, as is often the case with professional or college athletes, people accuse the victims of making up allegations for the money. But this is extremely rare. In fact, women who accuse men of domestic violence or sexual assault often face harsh consequences in their personal and professional lives. A study by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center says the following:

A review of research finds that the prevalence of false reporting is between 2 percent and 10 percent. The following studies support these findings:

  • A multi-site study of eight U.S. communities including 2,059 cases of sexual assault found a 7.1 percent rate of false reports (Lonsway, Archambault, & Lisak, 2009).
  • A study of 136 sexual assault cases in Boston from 1998-2007 found a 5.9 percent rate of false reports (Lisak et al., 2010).
  • Using qualitative and quantitative analysis, researchers studied 812 reports of sexual assault from 2000-2003 and found a 2.1 percent rate of false reports (Heenan & Murray 2006).

The study also details how the definitions for false allegations are often inconsistent, and things like delayed reporting or vagueness in details can lead to a report being labeled as false, suggesting that the true number of false reports may be even lower.

Either way, this study (along with the studies it aggregates to show its findings) shows that cases of accusers creating false allegations just for fame, victimhood, money, etc., are very, very slim.

Yet victim-blaming persists in sports, stemming from fans to media members to the athletes themselves. The book Masculinities in Contemporary American Culture: An Intersectional Approach to the Complexities and Challenges of Male Identity reminds of an infamous victim-blaming moment, when Stephen A. Smith warned women not to “provoke wrong action” in the wake of the TMZ release of the notorious Ray Rice video.

Sentiments regarding rape culture have changed very little in the last 20 years, as the 1994 book Sex, Violence, and Power in Sports: Rethinking Masculinity demonstrates. In the introduction to its second part, entitled “Sexuality and Power,” authors Michael A. Messner and Donald F. Sabo speak to the phenomenon of violence against women in sports. They wrote:

Until fairly recently, rapes by athletes were treated as deviant acts by a few sick individuals. But news reporters and the public are now beginning to ask if incidents like [Mike] Tyson’s rape or the Spur Posse’s competitive promiscuity are not isolated at all, but rather manifestations of a larger pattern of sexual abuse of women by male athletes. Though no definitive national study has yet been conducted, a growing body of evidence strongly suggests that, at least among college students, male athletes are more likely than male nonathletes to rape acquaintances and to take part in gang rapes. Consider the following:

  • Athletes participated in approximately one-third of 862 sexual assaults on United States campuses according to a 1988-1991 survey by the National Institute of Mental Health (Melnick, 1992).
  • Of twenty-six gang rapes alleged to have occurred from 1980 to 1990, most involved fraternity brothers and varsity athletes, Chris O’Sullivan, a Bucknell University psychologist discovered (Guernsey, 1993).
  • Among 530 college students, including 140 varsity athletes, the athletes had higher levels of sexual aggression toward women than the nonathletes, Mary Koss and John Gaines (1993) found. Koss and Gaines concluded that campus rape-prevention programs should especially target athletic teams.

Compelling as this evidence is, we want to emphasize two points. First, nothing inherent in men leads them to rape women. […] Second, nothing inherent in sports makes athletes especially likely to rape women. Rather, it is the way sports are organized to influence developing masculine identities and male peer groups that leads many male athletes to rape.

The final sentence of that passage, saying that “it is the way sports are organized to influence developing masculine identities and male peer groups that leads many male athletes to rape,” implies that the structure of sports itself leads to the influence of young boys. Because children are impressionable, the sports they are signed up for as children creates an influence in their attitudes in life. A competitive nature begins and, while healthy competitiveness is good, competitions in other facets of life begin.

As Sabo writes in Sex, violence & power in sports: rethinking masculinity:

Organized sports provide a social setting in which gender (i.e., masculinity and femininity) learning melds sexual learning. Our sense of “femaleness” or “maleness” influences the way we see ourselves as sexual beings. Indeed, as we develop, sexual identity emerges as an extension of an already formed gender identity, and sexual behavior tends to conform to cultural norms. To be manly in sports, traditionally, means to be competitive, successful, dominating, aggressive, stoical, goal-directed, and physically strong. Many athletes accept this definition of masculinity and apply it in their relationships with women. Dating becomes a sport in itself, and “scoring,” or having sex with little or no emotional involvement, is a mark of masculine achievement. Sexual relationships are games in which women are seen as opponents, and his scoring means her defeat. Too often, women are pawns in men’s quests for status within the male pecking order. For many of us jocks, sexual relationships are about man as a hunter and women as prey.

In other words, a woman’s emotional and physical well-being is no longer considered at this point, and this type of dehumanizing behavior can empower male athletes to perpetuate a cycle of dehumanizing women. This behavior is not an inherent part of human nature, but rather a learned characteristic because of toxic masculinity disguised as team camaraderie.

The idea of dehumanizing women is not just limited to a male athlete considering women as his prey, but should also include fans of the sport—often whom have concerns about the sport they love.

A friend of mine, Christine Hopkins, who is a writer from Des Moines and a Giants fan, says she didn’t know about Sandoval’s sexual assault allegations until he signed the minor league deal with San Francisco last month. However, upon learning this fact, Hopkins had many thoughts about it.

“It immediately deeply troubles me to learn that because I’m a Giants fan,” Hopkins says in an email. “And not in an ‘ugh, my team’s gonna face the wrath of the horrible feminists’ or whatever trash people say when it comes to speaking up about allegations like this, but that it happened while he was a member of the team (or came out then? either way) and I didn’t hear about it, whether it was widely reported [by the media] and I just missed it, or whether it wasn’t widely reported and should have been.”

Hopkins says she has no problem abandoning fandom for a player, a team, coaching staff, front office, so forth when allegations such as sexual assault aren’t dealt with properly.

“While that might seem like an extreme reaction to some, I think it’s more extreme to purposely ignore it (because you love the team), or worse, acknowledge it and dismiss it at the same time,” Hopkins continues. “Because that speaks to a much larger problem that goes beyond sports, that people who report DV/sexual assault aren’t taken seriously. But at the same time it’s also a very sports-centered issue, because athletes who commit these offenses are very much able to get away with it, at the very least in the eyes of their fans.”

Women have been excluded from baseball, and many other sports, since the beginning, thus causing a greater rift in power structures between men and women. In addition, a woman’s concerns regarding baseball are often cast aside because it is not taken seriously. At BP Wrigleyville, Mary Craig writes, “For much of its early history, baseball was viewed as a sport belonging to the hard-nosed working class, a sport wholly unfit for women.” Albert Spalding, wrote the following in America’s National Game back in 1911:

Neither our wives, our sisters, our daughters nor our sweethearts, may play Base Ball on the field. […] Base Ball is too strenuous for womankind, except as she may take part in grandstand, with applause for the brilliant play, with waving kerchief to the hero of the three-bagger.”

The idea of gender roles and a women’s place heavily dictated how a woman should be a spectator for baseball, and for over a century there has been very little wiggle room in women’s exclusion. As a result, the power dynamic for men and baseball grew extreme, manifesting the idea of maleness and toughness. This also includes having the power to fly under the radar when accusations come out, just as Sandoval did.

Sweeping the problem under the rug only leads to more violent crimes happening, because it becomes accepted within the culture and the norm of baseball. Complacency leads to continued behavior in this instance. The fact that allegations have been coming for years means that it’s not a problem that has been eradicated.

To their credit, in August 2015, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association agreed on the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy. The policy has led to stricter suspensions, especially in instances of domestic violence. Four players have been suspended for domestic violence incidents — Aroldis Chapman, Jose Reyes, Jeurys Familia and Hector Olivera, who received the longest suspension, 82 games. But this agreement leaves much to be desired. Players caught using performance-enhancing drugs still face much longer suspensions, from 80 games to full seasons. And there are still other players, like Kang, who slip through the cracks, going unpunished. The fact that a positive PED test gets one suspended longer on average than breaking the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy shows that while MLB has made progress, there is still room to better align their priorities.

Character concerns for off-field incidents end up being viewed as less consequential in comparison to things that impact on-field performance, that athletes try to “move on” from the alleged incident. This line of thinking can lead many to argue that violence against women should be left to the courts, ignoring the impact it has on its fans. As a fan and a survivor of sexual assault, I feel as though the biggest concern teams have regarding players is their ability to play baseball. I can only speak for myself, but I was maddened to know that a team, especially one I spent many years rooting for, could easily dismiss allegations as they did when the allegations about Sandoval first surfaced. It doesn’t seem fair to many people that they get a redemption narrative while victims and survivors have to live with the consequences of their bravery for speaking out (i.e., being branded as the person to blame for the allegations). This line of thinking also harkens back to Spalding’s message about a woman’s place in baseball — that they aren’t important, while also telling young, impressionable male fans that domestic violence is okay.

By ignoring a woman’s concerns—or anyone’s concerns, really—regarding a ballplayer whose past contains sexual assault allegations, the power that men have to dictate what is important becomes extreme.

To be clear, I am not advocating a zero tolerance policy, because that is psychologically and sociologically not the best answer to violence against women, as referenced in a USA Today article regarding Reyes and domestic violence. The full quote reads:

Counter-intuitively, we don’t want sports leagues to have a zero tolerance policy. And the reason for that is if we would say that the first time your partner calls 911 your career is over, her risk of homicide shoots through the roof. Because he has nothing to lose and everything to lose at the same time. We’ve actually been advising the sports league to take a very swift, very robust approach but not to say that first-time and you’re out of it, your career is over because the pressure then on the victim not to call for help is massive. And we want them to be able to call 911. We need them to reach out for help.”

Thus, banning those who commit violent acts toward women and children isn’t the answer for MLB.

However, more certainly can be done. It cannot be left unsaid, nor should MLB just wait for players to reach out. The Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy states, “All players will be provided education about domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse in both English and Spanish at regular intervals.” This is a good step, but by the time players have reached the majors, habits have been formed, norms have been established. We need to start younger. It is not about teaching women (and transgender/gender nonconforming folks) how to resist. We need to teach young boys at a young age not to commit violent acts and why it’s wrong.

The are many avenues where Major League Baseball can step in and offer more education. Perhaps in at the  Little League, Pony League and Babe Ruth League levels, MLB could sponsor education about unhealthy competition and how to treat people with respect, along with teaching how unhealthy competition and lack of respect for people could lead to committing violent acts. Or  ballplayers could be required to complete instruction regarding violence against women and be warned every time someone is heard perpetuating the notion that violence against women is okay.

Growing tools for such an education are also important. To that end, I have created a database to track reported domestic incidents among professional and college ballplayers, one that I hope to fill in over time. It is a crowdsourced database, so feel free to add to it. Having this database will provide a helpful reminder that these incidents do not happen in a vacuum, and that they are not isolated.

Education is but one tool. Another, more powerful tool, is branding. MLB and other pro sports leagues are adept at building awareness for causes they trumpet, be it about cancer, military appreciation, or youth participation in sports. MLB has a Community website dedicated to the causes it supports. It would be fantastic if MLB could organize a campaign to talk about domestic violence, one involving players, and encourage teams to give a portion of their gate receipts on a specific day or days of the season to women’s shelters. Talking about domestic violence, bringing it more into the light, will help people better understand the sort of trauma victims go through, not just in the immediate aftermath of domestic violence, but for their entire lives.

No matter the solution, it is important to teach male athletes that women are human beings, worthy of the same respect and possessing the same rights as them. They must learn that women exist in their own right and are entitled to the same areas of society as men. Violence against women (and non-binary individuals) occurs largely due to a manufactured, perpetuated power dynamic, and so promoting equality is essential to reducing the culture of violence present in—and constructed by—society.

This is not about asking for a safe space. This is about reducing the number of potential traumatic events that can ruin a survivor’s life. This is about boys and men being better. Because they can be better if they try.

As a fellow writer once said about Lueke, “Apologies to those for whom these Josh Lueke tweets interfere with their enjoyment of a game, but the threat of sexual assault interferes with how a vast majority of women enjoy life.”

References & Resources


Jen is a freelance writer. Read all of their writing on their website, and follow them on Twitter @jenmacramos.
136 Comments
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Brian L Cartwright
4 years ago

Jung-ho Kang is not currently serving a prison sentence. His DUI conviction in South Korea resulted in probation, for which he was denied a work visa to enter the United States.

Brian L Cartwright
4 years ago

*suspended sentence (which is in the headline of the linked source), but basically equivalent to probation. He is not in jail, and if he is good for a specified period of time the sentence will go away.

Paul Swydanmember
4 years ago

Right. Thanks Brian, good catch. We fixed that.

Dennis Bedard
4 years ago

Wow!!! Another sad chapter in this website’s devolution into our modern form of mandated conformity, a/k/a political correctness. There is a rabid segment of our academic/cultural elite that wants to label every sport or activity that involves competition in its purest form as somehow populated by a Neanderthal mentality whose thought process needs to be regulated by people with superior intellects and sensibilities. Maybe I should just dust off my Penguin edition of Plato’s Republic from college or re-read the exploits of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Athletes are no different from society at large. More important, they are also innocent until proven guilty. Absent some kind of conviction in a court of law, we are treading in very dangerous territory. But be that as it may. I noticed that the grammar in the byline summary of our author’s bio was wrong in that “she” is referred to as “their” and “them.” Surely a mistake. Guess again! I went to her or their website(www.jenmacramos.com) and uncovered these gems that qualify her as an expert on the culture of baseball:
1. “I have a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College, located in Oakland, Calif. That means I can critically think about the homoerotic subtext in Ernest Hemingway’s novels. ”
2. “My education at Mills has also taught me to be aware about race, sexuality, gender, and neurodiversity, and that often finds its way into my work. Projects I worked on at USC include the struggles of women in sports journalism and sexual violence prevention in college athletics. I aim to explore the relations of race, sexuality, gender, and neurodiversity and how it connects within society. (Also, my preferred pronouns, as you may have noticed, are they/them. I’m not offended if you use she/her.)”
3. “The other passion I have as a writer and as a photographer is the effects of the economy, society, and history on a culture. From taking photos of faded trucks on a service road in the Tehachapi Mountains to the current sites of strikes from days past, locations have a story to tell through its history and current day incarnation.”
And that about says it all folks as we enter a Brave New World as political ideology worms its way into American sports. One more point: could someone please explain what “neurodiversity” is?

Kevin B
4 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Bedard
Guest
4 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Bedard

Someone with an English degree prefers plural pronouns to refer to a singular person?

Also, the mention of transgender and non-binary makes me wonder how I can tell the difference between someone who is transgender and someone who claims it falsely. Similarly, how do I avoid mislabeling someone who is transgender but not sharing that information?

Joe S
4 years ago
Reply to  Guest

No, they’re using the singular “they”, which is a use of the word that’s existed, and been in continuous use, since the 1300s. https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/singular-nonbinary-they

Tallulah T.
4 years ago
Reply to  Guest

“Also, the mention of transgender and non-binary makes me wonder how I can tell the difference between someone who is transgender and someone who claims it falsely.”

Not sure what you’re asking here. Are you worried about people who are not actually transgender falsely claiming to be transgender? What would be the purpose of that? Is this something that happens?

“Similarly, how do I avoid mislabeling someone who is transgender but not sharing that information?”

Easy: ask people what pronouns they’d like you to use. Then use them. If you’re worried about offending someone by asking about pronouns, play it by ear. Listen to how people refer to or talk about themselves and then follow their lead. Usually these situations can be solved by listening.

Guest
4 years ago
Reply to  Guest

You wait until you are called a bigot, that’s when you know you’ve screwed up.

Joe S
4 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Bedard

Are… are you saying you don’t want to conform to the “pc” idea that it’s wrong to sexually assault someone? Because it’s easy to read your comment that way.

Matt
4 years ago
Reply to  Joe S

Right? I have a feeling this guy’s true opinion of women is interesting, to say the least.

crew87
4 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Bedard

Really wish these commenters that are always bemoaning the content at THT would make good on their promise to stop reading (or commenting, as I don’t believe he’s actually reading the article).

Thanks for this Jen, and good job!

Guest
4 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Bedard

You missed the part where she’s an assistant general manager for the indie ball Sonoma Stompers. So unless you also work for a baseball team I’d say she’s more qualified to talk on the culture of baseball than you are.

Guest
4 years ago
Reply to  Guest

Sorry, where THEY are an assistant general manager for the indie ball Sonoma Stompers. Apologies for not using the preferred pronoun in the first place.

Guest
4 years ago
Reply to  Guest

Lol I didn’t know indi-baseball made someone an expert on sports culture or locker room culture. It’s not to say that zers? They’re? …..Jen’s opinion is somehow invalid but let’s not guild the lily here.

Dennisdouchebag
4 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Bedard

STFU Dennis

Bip
4 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Bedard

“as political ideology worms its way into American sports”

Do you know what else has wormed its way into American sports? Sexual assault, and a culture of prioritizing team success over the accountability of the assaulter and the well-being of the victim.

If it takes some politics to undo that, then so be it.

A Former Progressive
4 years ago
Reply to  Bip

Prove it. This article sure as hell doesn’t.

Bip
4 years ago

It is only necessary to “prove” it in every article on the subject for those of you who stubbornly refuse to accept or research the “proof” for yourselves. Usually, when facts are established, they can be referenced without having to rehash every argument for the hard-headed denialists.

Do you also comment on math papers saying “prove it” every time someone references a theorem that someone else proved?

Guest
4 years ago
Reply to  Bip

How has sexual assault wormed its way into sports? It’s not like in the golden era of baseball there was somehow zero sexual assault and this is all some new trend.

There are thousands of active players across all the leagues in baseball alone. Let’s not act like cherry picking a few bad actors over the course of several decades is somehow indicative of sports culture at large. That’s disingenuous at best, and discriminatorily reinforcing stereotypes at worst.(which is something that intersectional feminism is against.)

Matt
4 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Bedard

I bet you’re a blast at parties, dude!

Chris Hirschberg
4 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Bedard

Please stop featuring Familia pictures as thumbnails or featured photos in domestic violence articles. He didn’t attack or threaten his wife. Those are her words, and there was zero physical evidence on her body upon police inspection. She said he was “acting crazy” that night, which I’m guessing means yelling and possibly breaking stuff in the house. Journalists need to get it right regarding the Familia case.

Kevin
4 years ago

“Those are her words, and there was zero physical evidence on her body upon police inspection.”

Actually, this is completely false. From a New York Post article about the incident: “Upon their arrival, officers found Familia’s wife, Bianca — whose name was originally redacted from the incident report — with scratches to the chest and a bruise to her right cheek.”

Nice research bro! Also, Familia provided his middle name to police in hopes of the Mets not finding out about the situation. What a saint! Care to defend another POS? I’m waiting with baited breath. Moron.

LHPSU
4 years ago

Your case would be a lot more convincing if you didn’t include a bunch of cases that weren’t substantiated in court, then imply without any evidence that they were impeded by some conspiracy.

Article Reader
4 years ago
Reply to  LHPSU

Someone didn’t read the article.

LHPSU
4 years ago
Reply to  Article Reader

Someone needs to grow a fucking brain and understand that just because false reporting are rare doesn’t mean you get to lump convictions and non-convictions together.

Have you ever been convicted of rape? No? I guess you’re definitely a rapist then.

Tallulah T.
4 years ago
Reply to  LHPSU

Why does this article bother you so much? What’s behind your angry response to it?

Also, it’s not “some conspiracy” that impedes sexual assault convictions (and indeed, prevents sexual assault victims from speaking up in the first place). The article is pretty clear what the reason is: a larger cultural problem of toxic masculinity and victim blaming.

A Former Progressive
4 years ago
Reply to  Tallulah T.

“Toxic masculinity” and “victim blaming”

LOL well I guess we just say goodbye to due process and the courts because gay feminists feel threatened by traditional masculinity!

Tallulah T.
4 years ago
Reply to  Tallulah T.

Nope, that’s not what we’re calling for. Where did you get that?

However, you do bring up an interesting point: “due process” means “fair treatment,” which, again, if you read the article, is one of the main points here. Victims all too often don’t get fair treatment.

https://www.rainn.org/statistics/criminal-justice-system

Most sexual assaults don’t even result in arrest, much less conviction or incarceration. Don’t you think that’s a problem?

A Former Progressive
4 years ago
Reply to  Tallulah T.

If there frequently isn’t enough evidence to even make an arrest, let alone convict or incarcerate someone, how exactly do you propose to “fix” this? “Listen and believe”?

J.D. Bolick
4 years ago
Reply to  Tallulah T.

Tallulah T., it boggles the mind that you and the author don’t understand that blaming “toxic masculinity” is just the other side of the coin from “blaming the victim.” Harping on how men behave is no different from harping on how women dress. The notion that men have to be educated in order to prevent them from becoming sexual offenders is offensive and ultimately counterproductive. Toxic masculinity doesn’t have anything to do with evidence being handled properly. Toxic masculinity doesn’t have anything to do with reports being submitted and investigated properly. Toxic masculinity doesn’t have anything to do with DAs being willing to proceed with a case and juries having no reasonable doubts that the offender is guilty.

Brian L Cartwright
4 years ago

There are two topics at play here: What distinction do we make between the criminal justice system and employers enforcing morals clauses, and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Sports teams or any businesses are free to hire (or not) whom they choose and may consider the moral characteristics of said employee. However, law enforcement is most often better trained and equipped to investigate allegations in an attempt to determine the truth. Routinely employers have relied on the decisions of criminal justice, waiting for at a minimum arrest and more conclusively a conviction before acting. They don’t have to, as in the 1919 ‘Black Sox’ scandal where the newly hired Commissioner of Baseball suspended nine players for life who had just been acquitted by a jury.

Even when a person is guilty and done jail time, how long do we as a society keep punishing them? After jail, are they to be denied the opportunity to earn a living for the rest of their lives? If there is contrition, can we choose to forgive? Michael Vick served his time, lost tens of millions of dollars in salary, and appears to have learned his lesson. Despite that, friends said they’d never root for the Steelers again after signing Vick to be a backup. It’s not just athletes. Someone who was a friend of mine decades ago was convicted and served time for a sexual crime. He got what he deserved and I haven’t spoken to him since, but because he’s on a list he may never be able to make a living again.

Then there is the possibility of false allegations. The article cites three studies with results of between 2% and 10% It can happen. False allegations can destroy a person’s life and make them a victim. For good reasons, our criminal courts convicted when presented with evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt.” It can be very dangerous to lower that to something such as “more likely than not.” And who is making those judgements? Is it a jury of peers with no vested interest in the outcome, other than justice – or a panel of activists who serve as judge, jury and prosecutor?

Our first goal is to seek the truth. Armed with that, punishment can be handed out, whether in court or banishment from employment. But we must tread carefully. Allegations are just that.

Article Reader
4 years ago

Yeah the criminal justice system is perfect and infallible and showing extra caution because of 2-10% of cases of false reporting is much more necessary than the 90-98% that are true. Please won’t someone think of the poor male baseball players?!

Brian L Cartwright
4 years ago
Reply to  Article Reader

Our criminal justice system isn’t perfect but I’ll let you suggest a better method. You’re saying that because 9 of 10 claims are true, too bad for the 10th guy because we’ll just assume he’s guilty too?

Kevin
4 years ago

My method? We’ll wait until they pass. And someone with complete knowledge of what did or did not happen will make the ultimate judgement. And even if that person was found “not guilty” by some piece of garbage justice system that doesn’t have enough facts maybe, they’ll still face what awaits. That’s my method. Have any issues with that?

Jason Linden
4 years ago

In your entire response, there is no mention of the victims, who are telling the truth, based on the cited studies between 90 and 98% of the time. Assuming they are all lying (which is the default for many baseball fans) victimizes them further. And they’re going to be living with what was done to them forever already.

Brian L Cartwright
4 years ago
Reply to  Jason Linden

Jen covered that and I substantially agree. I asked that we try to avoid errors and consider that at some point the debt might be considered paid.

I recognize uncertainty. I’m neither assuming all are lying or that none are. Let’s examine each case, find the truth and act on it.

J.D. Bolick
4 years ago
Reply to  Jason Linden

Jason, it is critically important for you, other readers, and the author to know that the studies referenced absolutely do not mean or even claim that sexual assault allegations are true “between 90 and 98% of the time.” Between 2% and 10% have been PROVEN to be false allegations, which is pretty close to the same range of percentages for sexual assault allegations that result in criminal convictions. The very, very vast majority of sexual assault allegations exist in a gray area where it isn’t clear if the accusation was absolutely true or absolutely false.

I am disgusted when privileged individuals are able to get away with heinous behavior, but I am similarly disgusted when ultimately innocent individuals had their reputations (and sometimes lives) ruined by false claims (Duke lacrosse, UVA-Rolling Stone, etc.). I’m also completely unconvinced by any suggestions that men have to be “educated” not to assault women. It implies that men are rabid dogs that have to be trained not to behave like criminals, and it implies that those who ultimately do commit such acts don’t understand that they’re doing something wrong. Both of those premises are completely false in my opinion. Men who sexually assault women already know that they’re doing something wrong. To prevent that behavior, we need to do a better job of investigating claims in order to create a higher chance of convicting someone who actually is guilty, and for the punishments to be a sufficient deterrent. The trend to act like all men have to be educated not to be criminals is frankly offensive.

Eric
4 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Bolick

Just wanted to say I agree with everything you said.

It’s disgusting every single time sexual assault happens. At the same time, when such a strong accusation is falsely made, the accused can face serious social and economic consequences for something he/she ultimately didn’t do.

I also agree that men should not and do not need to be taught that assaulting women is wrong.

A Former Progressive
4 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Bolick

Exactly why is it so offensive to claim all men need to be educated not to commit rape?

I mean, all blacks need to be educated not to commit robbery, right?

All Hispanic men need to be educated not to beat their wives, right? (I mean, just look at the evidence in this article: all of the wife-beaters are Hispanic!)

All Muslims need to be educated not to suicide bomb us, right? All Muslims need to be educated not to gang-rape 11-year-old girls, right?

What is so offensive about any of that?

Cool Lester Smooth
4 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Bolick

I largely agree with you…but the “education” bit does need some clarification.

It’s not about telling people “Rape is wrong.” It’s about cutting down on these “gray area” incidents by making sure we have “gotta make sure I get informed consent” in the back of our minds during, say, a hookup with a stranger we met at a bar.

At the end of the day…sex shouldn’t be gray.

J.D. Bolick
4 years ago

Again, I’m pretty confident in saying that every man already knows that having sex with anyone incapacitated is wrong and that having sex with anyone who has denied consent is wrong. It’s pretty mind-boggling that we actually have some universities utilizing what Dave Chappelle’s mocked as “the love contract.”

Cool Lester Smooth
4 years ago

And the fact that you think I’m talking about “anyone who has denied consent” makes me pretty sure you don’t know what I mean.

A Sex Ed curriculum that teaches teenagers “Only yes means yes” (rather than “Stop if she says no” and “Don’t have sex with unconscious people”) helps reduce incidents that fall into that gray area you did a great job of describing.

I really think a big part of the problem is a lack of comprehensive sex ed outside of the sort of Ivory Tower we have on the coasts and in major cities.

J.D. Bolick
4 years ago

CLS, I understood what you meant and was mocking the absurdity of it. The notion that explicit verbal or written consent is necessary before any sexual encounter makes the entire thing robotically silly. “Excuse me. I know we have been going at it for the last half hour but before penetration I need to receive your explicit verbal consent.” Really? Dave Chappelle mocked “the love contract” precisely because it’s such a clinical and strange way of approaching physical intimacy.

Cool Lester Smooth
4 years ago

Oh, I’m not saying it’s actually applicable to real life.

Neither is telling everyone to keep their hands back and shoot every pitch the other way.

You just want the thought in the back of an 18 year old’s head to be “Get the yes,” rather than “if she doesn’t say ‘no,’ I’m in the clear.”

Adam Halverson
4 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Bolick

I was going to post a reply on the potentially misleading information, regarding the prevalence of false reports, but you said pretty much what I wanted to say. Thank you very much for covering this important detail.

“A review of research finds that the prevalence of false reporting is between 2 percent and 10 percent.”

This statement suffers from a critical ontological error, and comes across as highly presumptive in tone – it should be revised, at least, to say that “a review of research finds that cases in which false reporting *has been proven* is between 2 percent and 10 percent.”

Also, it would be nice to know what percentage of cases has resulted in a conviction of the defendant for sexual/domestic violence and/or sexual/domestic assault, and what percentage of cases involve on ongoing investigation, a cold case, INCONCLUSIVE BASED ON LACK OF INCULPATORY OR EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE (this needs to be heavily emphasized), etc…

Unfortunately, the author, despite her best intentions, commits the fallacy of treating all cases that have been proven false as necessarily consisting of a subset of all cases that are definitely false:

“This study (along with the studies it aggregates to show its findings) shows that cases of accusers creating false allegations just for fame, victimhood, money, etc., are very, very slim.”

“Not necessarily” is my response.

Guest
4 years ago
Reply to  Adam Halverson

This is a well thought out response, we have to be clear with data, otherwise we muddle the point or even worse, draw and promote incorrect conclusions.

Guest
4 years ago
Reply to  Jason Linden

No one is saying that all purported victims are lying, but in a civilized society can’t just take people at their word and punish people because we don’t want to appear insensitive. We can’t form mobs with pitch forks and torches and go after people who are accused of crimes. Witch hunts don’t bring about justice.
I.E. Duke Lacross
Virgina Tech fraternity.

That said if someone comes forward with a rape accusation, you should take them seriously and make sure they get whatever help or treatment they need and let the police and D.A. take care of the rest.

Jason Linden
4 years ago

For everyone who might make the “he wasn’t convicted” argument: She gives you the false reporting statistics (which are more or less the same as the false reporting statistics for other violent crimes). False reporting is rare. For a myriad of reasons, convictions are MUCH harder to get, so you can’t really use the results of the justice system as proof that someone is innocent. For a community that is so obsessed with statistics, I’m always amazed at how easily many baseball fans discard them in these instances. (Okay, I’m not really amazed, but some folks must have some pretty intense cognitive dissonance going on.)

Aaron
4 years ago
Reply to  Jason Linden

You also can’t assume that the person is guilty, either. Even if false reporting is uncommon, there’s no telling which players are and aren’t guilty. A person is innocent until proven guilty, and that’s the way it has to be. Plus, celebrities might be bigger targets for false reporting because of their wealth.

J.D. Bolick
4 years ago
Reply to  Jason Linden

Those statistics are for allegations that were proven to be false, they are not an accurate count of how many total allegations were false. You’re either misunderstanding or misusing the context.

zero is a percent
4 years ago
Reply to  Jason Linden

All other arguments aside, 2-10% is in no way “rare” in this context. That’s 1 in 50 to 1 in 10 that are proven wrong. 1 in 10, with a possibility of more is staggering. If anyone is in need of more scrutiny, it is these people that take credibility from actual victims and transfer it to predators with false accusations.

Paul G.
4 years ago
Reply to  Jason Linden

We are a community that is obsessed with statistics, which is why we know that 2% to 10% false accusation range is not “rare” and certainly not “very, very slim” by any reasonable standard. If something happened 1 out of every 10 times, I would consider that to be a normal event that I should be expecting on a regular basis. Actually, I would consider 2% in the same way. Considering that a false accusation – just an accusation, not a conviction – can very easily ruin someone’s life that 10% number is, in fact, horrifying. How would you feel if 2% to 10% of PED suspensions were against innocent players? If 10% of death penalty executions were of innocent men, the outcry would and should be enormous. I understand statistics which is why your position is so puzzling.

Karen
4 years ago

This is a great piece, thank you for writing it.

Mike
4 years ago

As a former athlete, I can definitely relate to using mental habits I developed in sports (coolness in competition, for instance) in relationships when I was a younger guy. Really insightful article!

Mike
4 years ago

Why is it “Baseball”, or any other employer, that bares the responsibility of investigating and disciplining individuals who may have or have not commit a crime? Isn’t there already a system in place? Are we comfortable with employers taking over this responsibility?

Jason Linden
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike

Baseball has a interest in appealing to as many people as possible. Alienating half of the fan base (and then some) by putting players on the field who have done such appalling things and are thus impossible to cheer for is not good business sense.

Brian Kirk
4 years ago
Reply to  Jason Linden

But the question is why does baseball “need” to do this. Like a moral imperative. The end goal of all of this worrying about DV and sexual violence shouldn’t be making more money for billionaires.

Kevin
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike

Use common sense. It’s not that difficult. Hiring someone simply because the justice system found them not guilty is a cop out. Plain and simple. It’s an excuse to hire someone that is going to win you games, ignoring completely that they’re probably a piece of trash. Well they weren’t found guilty right? Right? I mean, they’re all evidence actually points to them being a waste of space…. but you know, since the justice system found them not guilty I think I can sleep at night with hiring them. Sweet!!

John
4 years ago

This article, without providing any evidence that assault rates are higher in baseball than among the general population, should not have been published. It’s a series of anecdotes weaved together with appeals to emotion, and there is no point to any of it. Bad article, and HBT’s reputation is hurt by its publication.

Joe S
4 years ago
Reply to  John

Hmm… it seems like you have this article, which is an opinion/editorial-style piece about the issue of domestic/sexual violence in baseball, confused with a scientific article that attempts to quantify the exact extent of the problem (or maybe a systematic review of existing literature). I get it, it’s an easy mistake to make, since THT publishes all sorts of different works.

I think if you re-read it as what it’s intended to be, though — a commentary piece written by an intelligent author with relevant experience as a fan of baseball, an independent-league exec, and a survivor — you’ll get more from it. I certainly got a lot out of it by reading it that way, though admittedly I agree with Jen’s arguments.

John
4 years ago
Reply to  Joe S

The thesis of the article is that baseball has a problem with ‘toxic masculinities’, and probably should be doing more about it. Pointing out examples of baseball players who have done bad things is not evidence of a problem with toxic masculinities in baseball when there is no evidence showing that incidence rates are higher among baseball players. This article is analogous to finding a few examples of plumbers assaulting women, and then writing 3 thousand words on the toxic masculinity of the plumbing industry, even though I have no idea whether plumbers are actually more likely than non-plumbers to do this kind of thing. I don’t think that calling an article an opinion piece gives you license to make unsubstantiated claims without criticism. This is lazy, click-bait journalism.

Jesse
4 years ago
Reply to  John

Your analogy doesn’t work: baseball players are far more visible/influential than plumbers, which makes their transgressions/ramifications more important.

John
4 years ago
Reply to  Jesse

Again, the thesis of the article is that baseball, specifically, has a problem with what the author calls toxic masculinity which fosters an environment that yields a concerning amount of assaults. The support offered for this argument is that some baseball players have assaulted people. My analogy is that finding that finding some plumbers that have committed sexual assault is not sufficient evidence that the field of plumbing has a problem with toxic masculinity.

One might be inclined to argue that the impact of these assaults is different when committed by more visible figures, but that’s not what this article is about.

J.D. Bolick
4 years ago
Reply to  Jesse

Well said, John.

Guest
4 years ago
Reply to  Jesse

That higher visibility that athletes have also made them much more likely to be targeted, which is why it’s all the more important not to editorialize this issue.

Tallulah T.
4 years ago
Reply to  John

THT is a baseball site, so this article is about sexual assault among baseball players, not plumbers.

Also, if you read the article, one of the main arguments is that sports culture (again, this is a baseball site, so Jen focuses on the sport of baseball) tends to exacerbate the dehumanization and objectification of women that’s already a part of how boys and young men are raised in our society. This quote from one of the book she references sums it up:

“First, nothing inherent in men leads them to rape women. […] Second, nothing inherent in sports makes athletes especially likely to rape women. Rather, it is the way sports are organized to influence developing masculine identities and male peer groups that leads many male athletes to rape.”

Perhaps there have been studies about whether or not the way the plumbing industry is organized encourages sexual assault, but I haven’t done much reading on the subject.

John
4 years ago
Reply to  Tallulah T.

The only question worth asking here is whether there is any actual evidence that baseball culture affects its participants in such a way they are more prone to committing these acts. Without that evidence, blaming baseball culture for crimes committed by men who happen to play baseball for a living is completely unwarranted. This article should have been written after someone showed a link between baseball and assault that goes beyond the feelings and intuitions of the author. No effort is made to get at actual truth here. Rather, the author had a conclusion in mind and set out to write a rebuke of an entire industry without actually being in possession of actual evidence that the industry she’s criticizing has done anything wrong. The only story here is that men who play baseball have committed crimes. If it comes out that men who play baseball commit these crimes more often than men who don’t play baseball, then we might have an actual leg to stand on when criticizing baseball for the crimes of a small group of individuals. Writing this article before that link has been established is poor journalism. It doesn’t necessarily make the author a poor journalist, but it is absolutely a product of unclear thinking and poor judgement.

Brian Kirk
4 years ago
Reply to  John

You’ve said everything I wanted to say. Reading the beginning of this article, I couldn’t help but be reminded of this: http://deadspin.com/what-do-arrests-data-really-say-about-nfl-players-and-c-733301399

We can learn two things from that Deadspin article. One, the NFL players, who have a worse reputation for domestic violence than MLB players, actually had a lower-than-average arrest rate for assault/battery. Even before accounting for socioeconomic status or age. Two, even a website that intentionally aims low can examine this issue in a way that’s actually helpful and instructive.

Richie
4 years ago
Reply to  John

Actually, HBT’s very left-wing political activism is very much part of their rep. And rewards them with mucho mucho clicks every time they toss it out there. Like, well, this comment.

danny c
4 years ago
Reply to  Richie

yes that’s mostly what feminism has been boiled down to in the last decade or so. blatant inaccurate statements pandered to women to drive up the viewership statistics of said gender. then media companies can turn around and sell their advertising spots for more money since women have a higher purchasing power then men. mainstream media has been doing this for years with conventional talking points that have been proved inaccurate (wage gap etc) yet they still plaster the same misleading info consistently. why? because it’s in their best interest to generate women’s viewership.
Thinking sports don’t include women is a bit naive. Look at what the NFL has done to attract women’s involvement over the last several years. It’s in each sports best interest to capitalize on women’s purchasing power.
this article is no different.

A Former Progressive
4 years ago
Reply to  John

Your arguments eviscerate the entire article, but that won’t stop THT from publishing another piece of wokeness with the exact same flaws next week.

Joel
4 years ago

I guess the question is — what does *baseball* specifically need to do about sexual assault? It seems to me that the ability of wealthy/famous/connected men to escape prosecution for their crimes is a much bigger issue than baseball has purview over.

You don’t directly make this argument, I would agree that baseball teams should be obligated to not interfere with prosecution of their players in any way whatsoever. Although in these examples I don’t see many cases of Tom Osborne-level obstruction of justice.

Tom
4 years ago

Thought provoking Jen.

Richard Bergstrom
4 years ago

Trump talked about grabbing/assaulting women then dismissed it as locker room talk. This is not meant to delve into politics but to be symptomatic of an issue in our culture that Jen is trying to address i.e. people do not take sexual assault seriously, and if something becomes a scandal, there seems to be more concern on the perpetrator, whether it’s someone who committed the assault or made the joke, than the people who were assaulted or offended.

Brian L Cartwright
4 years ago

I agree.

Trump had switched to third person when he said “when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

We shouldn’t let some people get away with reprehensible behavior or otherwise treating people badly because they are stars. Athletes, from a young age, are often put on a pedestal, told they are special, and some/many then develop a feeling of entitlement. Whatever they want the expect to be given.

I reckon this is true for most types of celebrities and for either men or women. Diva is a common term for what might be described as ‘toxic femininity.’

JP
4 years ago

One of the Rangers players named in last year’s hazing incident is Yohel Pozo who has been playing all season.

http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=650968#/career/R/hitting/2017/ALL

One of the other players was Rougned Odor brother. I don’t think the team or the media covering the team ever even publically addressed or wrote about the incident.

Kevin
4 years ago
Reply to  JP

That incident isn’t really relevant to this issue. It was male on male. It was just a weird, very bizarre hazing incident that would not take place in the U.S. It basically consisted of a group of players holding another player down and jacking him off. They were all laughing. Again, very strange, not really OK obviously…. Yes it is sexual in nature, but it is not male on female- nor is it violent- so I don’t feel like it belongs in this article.

OttoTheBum
4 years ago

Too bad this article didn’t come out 800 years ago; we could have been spared no small amount of grief.

It’s widely known that baseball was invented on the cold Asiatic steppe 1200 years onto the common era. The new sport’s first transcendent star, the great fireballing lefty Genghis Khan, imbued by baseball’s culture of toxic masculinity, raped his way across half the world.

The nascent sport matured and birthed the slugger with an eagle eye, Tamerlane. He played too much ball and the mid-east paid the price.

We know the rest of the story, from conquistador/closer Cortez to the most feared slugger of our time, Mean Joe Starling – baseball has brought out the worst in our best for too long.

Kevin
4 years ago
Reply to  OttoTheBum

Lol what?

A Former Progressive
4 years ago

Boy, the Hardball Times turned into a hardcore left-wing shill site so gradually I didn’t even notice!

A Former Progressive
4 years ago

This is a fucking dumb article, which isn’t a surprise, because every piece of feminist/intersectional/Marxist dogma is fucking dumb and almost always for the same reasons: it doesn’t come remotely close to proving what it sets out to prove.

What’s your evidence? Twelve ballplayers out of the thousands and thousands who’ve been in MLB/MiLB over the last 25 years MAY have been involved in a sexual assault? Wow what an epidemic, it’s a wonder there are any women left alive in the world, stay in your bunkers because the Kansas City Rape-Gangs are in town today!

Twelve people involved in a handful of incidents is much *lower* than any other profession on Earth. Like really, really low. I can only conclude that baseball players are stunning not-rapists who we should all model our sexual behavior on, because they almost never sexually assault women.

So the next time I forcibly attend my local gulag’s Council for Children’s Right-Think, I’ll be sure to ask them if we can teach our children to be more like the not-raping ballplayers. Then again, that might mean cutting into the current curriculum of “Why You Are a 3-Year-Old Transsexual and Even if You’re Actually Not Trans It’s Transphobic to Not Date People Who Have Genitals You Don’t Like, You God Damn Bigot,” so I’m not high on its chances of acceptance.

Cool Lester Smooth
4 years ago

Well…it looks like someone needs a safe space.

imachainsaw
4 years ago

wow you really do need a safe space. thr subject of being critical of patriarchal society rattled your poor babyears so nuch you had to post a tantrum every 30 minutes. its ok.. youll be safe behind your computer screen, surrounding yourself in your misogynist echo chamber. just relax. step away from this article for a second, and get a new diaper.

A Former Progressive
4 years ago
Reply to  imachainsaw

Diaper, tantrum, safe space—are you a babyfur?

Argue the points, clown. How does this piece prove its thesis?

Kevin
4 years ago

Dude, if you can’t see there is a common theme in ALL major professional sports of overlooking domestic violence- or violence in general, look at the countless second chances Michael Vick has been given- if the player can contribute to the team winning- you’re an idiot. That’s all I can really say.

Cool Lester Smooth
4 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

The Mike Vick comparison seems a little inappropriate, seeing as how he has never, you know, hurt a human being.

Or, for that matter, received “countless second chances.”

He received one second chance, and has made the most of it.

Guest
4 years ago
Reply to  imachainsaw

You have to back up a thesis with evidence, otherwise, it’s just another unsubstantiated opinion. That shouldn’t be too much to ask for?

RB
4 years ago

I don’t really disagree with either the article or the headline but the conflation of domestic violence and sexual violence here (beginning with the headline and the choice of player to illustrate!) still strikes me as a pretty sleazy kind of disturbing sensationalism. And since in fact baseball seems to have a much larger problem with the former than the latter, emphasizing the latter, as if MLB were concealing a sex-trafficking ring or something, is probably a pretty bad rhetorical strategy as well.

Jeremy C. Young
4 years ago

A great article that provides a bracing look at the dark underbelly of America’s oldest professional sport. Thanks very much for writing this; hopefully it’s shared widely.

Evil Man
4 years ago

Yes, the “dark underbelly” of the evil masculinity of sports. I have a son and will be teaching him to respect women, and I will also teach him that masculinity is not a negative trait. By masculinity I mean the traits of courage, independence and assertiveness. Also, he will be taught to treat a lady like a lady. I am not sorry that this offends feminists who think that masculinity is some type of cancer.

Guest
4 years ago
Reply to  Evil Man

It is odd that “masculinity” is only seen as a negative trait in men with XY chromosomes. It’s never portrayed as negative when being exposed or acted upon by FtM transgendered individuals, then it’s courageous and being true to themselves.

Kevin
4 years ago
Reply to  Evil Man

Lol. That’s not masculinity. The traits you speak of- courage, independence, assertiveness- those are not unique to men. They are worthy traits of ALL people. Gender, color, it doesn’t matter. Your ignorance is… regrettable.

John Autin
4 years ago

I did try to read this article, but the author’s lack of objectivity quickly became apparent and I could not continue.

“When Sandoval re-signed with the Giants, the story again made its rounds on social media, and it became increasingly evident that the incident was far more significant than it originally seemed.”

Yet, as far as I can find, the author neither listed nor linked to any facts or even conjectures that emerged from those social media “rounds.” (I’ll sidestep the whole question of how much truth ever emerges from social media.) The two linked news items on that story were dated June 4 and July 12 of 2012. Where is any relevant information information supporting the author’s claims of “increasing eviden[ce]” that the incident was “significant”? Was that whole sentence nothing but a vicious smear?

This is irresponsible journalism by both the author and the editors of this site. Shame on all those involved.

I do not presume to know the true facts behind any of these allegations, and I do believe that sexual assault is both underreported and underprosecuted. It’s a societal problem. Nevertheless, the investigation, prosecution and punishment of off-field crimes is not the province of MLB.

Those who want MLB to be more proactive should be careful what they wish for. Once you allow discipline because some player leaves “a bad taste in the mouths of” some group of fans, you are starting down a very slippery slope that will surely bite your own interests right in the butt.

Dave
4 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

Thank you for this comment. I was thinking the same thing. Perhaps Ramos mistakenly left out pertinent information, but it seems intentional. We must honor those who have been sexually assaulted, by both punishing the perpetrator, and ensuring truth through objectivity.

N.Fister
4 years ago

This article is poorly written, for many reasons already touched on already in the comments section. It would behoove HBT to exercise better editorial control, unless their professional reputation is secondary to the clicks that come from publishing unsubstantiated and intellectually lazy drivel like this.

imachainsaw
4 years ago
Reply to  N.Fister

better eidtorial control meaning “dont bring up womens rights issues at all” cooooool boi

N.Fister
4 years ago
Reply to  imachainsaw

Better editorial control meaning something in the way of evidentiary standards in support of the claims made in articles published on their site. Those standards appear to be non-existent. You seem to think that my issue is with an article about women’s rights issues in baseball. It isn’t. My issue is with an article about women’s rights issues in baseball that doesn’t bother to establish support for the idea that there are women’s rights issues in baseball.

Paul G.
4 years ago

I am very confused why sexual assault and domestic violence are being used synonymously here. There is certainly overlap between the two offenses, but they are not the same thing. There is a great deal of difference between slapping a spouse in a moment of anger and systematically raping underage girls.

imachainsaw
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul G.

men exterting physical dominance over women in physical and sexual ways has a common thread…

Paul G.
4 years ago
Reply to  imachainsaw

But they are very different things as far as severity is concerned, in much the same way as getting into a fistfight is very different than shooting someone with a gun. Sexual assaults are considered serious crimes even at the lowest levels. Domestic violence can be as minimal as pushing someone resulting in no injuries, or acting in a rage that causes indirect accidental injury, or even performing something stupid that is potentially dangerous but not intended to be. When domestic violence gets to the point of sexual assault, the category has changed. This article spends a lot of time on sexual assaults, then shoehorns the typically less significant domestic violence offense towards the end as if they should be treated the same. This is dubious.

In addition, domestic violence is not a male specific offense. The CDC study in 2010 reported that men were the victims the majority of the time. Females were the majority victims for “severe physical violence” more often, but men were still on the receiving end in 40% of these most extreme cases. When there is a gun involved, physical dominance is a secondary factor. This article seems to imply that this is a men only issue which is troublesome.

Dave
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul G.

Good points, but sexual assault is not a male-specific offense either.

Brian
4 years ago

So I guess we should train little boys that they’re rapists from birth, thats the end game. To all you cucks who are with this….enjoy the decline.

imachainsaw
4 years ago
Reply to  Brian

maybe itll be more effective to end the “boys will be boys” mentality and instill in boys that they are to be held responsible for their actions

Brian L Cartwright
4 years ago

For better research I’d suggest adding more columns to your database. I know the file is new and more records will be added. I didn’t see Aroldis Chapman, which was a domestic violence incident where I don’t believe there was an arrest but he was suspended.

I’ve read through the linked articles and would classify the events according to:

MLB or not – of 14 current records, 10 MLB, 3 minors, 2 former players

sexual or not – 8 are non-sexual assault (choking, punching, etc) of wife/girlfriend, 1 burglary with intent to commit sexual assault (of a stranger) and 6 were hookups, where 4 ended violently (2 convictions) and 2 were consensual but underage (1 arrest, 1 conviction)

allegation, arrest or conviction – many of the articles were written at time of arrest and conviction is unknown. Of the 5 listed rapes, there were 3 arrests or convictions. Of the 8 cases of domestic violence, there were 5 arrests. Of the other 3 not charged, 1 allegation was made during a divorce proceeding and 1 was 2 years later (being investigated by MLB) and 1 is new this year (being investigated by MLB)

baseball disposition – of the 4 active MLB players arrested for domestic assault, Lugo was DFA’d, Reyes suspended, Olivera isn’t playing this year and I don’t recall anything happening to Myers. Add Chapman who was suspended.

I would also suggest expanding the criteria by including all criminal activity. I’d argue that violence against men is also something to be aware of.

Brian
4 years ago

Stop mansplaining.

Julie dicaro
4 years ago
Reply to  Brian

Can’t mansplain to the author. It is physically impossible.

Will H
4 years ago

Brian,

Wanted to say that I agree with this sentiment and also just wanted to say that as a reader of Bucs Dugout and having read many of these comments on this article that I really respect the analysis and insight you’ve brought to the table both places. Just thought I’d let ya know that your knowledge and intelligence are really appreciated!

Will H
4 years ago

Jen,

Great article and solid analysis. I’ll try to help with the database as well because I agree that having that sort of information out there is important. A lot of great insight here, and I agree that team culture in baseball and other sports can foster toxic masculinity, sometimes with terrible consequences.

A Former Progressive
4 years ago

By the way, according to recent CDC studies, 53%+ of all domestic violence victims are men, and they’re 40% of “severe” domestic violence victims as well.

https://www.yahoo.com/beauty/the-number-of-male-domestic-1284479771263030.html

The CDC doesn’t suggest where all this toxic femininity is coming from, but the obvious answer is that it stems from the oppressive feminist movement that regularly dehumanizes men in all fields of life.

In any event, we’d better start gathering databases to keep track of all these abusive women so that they and their employers can be held accountable going forward.

Aardvark
4 years ago

This is important. We need to identify the occupations of some of these abusers ASAP so that industries that promote this abuse can reign in their toxic femininity and teach women not to abuse.

danny c
4 years ago

don’t forget the report: “But among men reporting other forms of sexual victimization, 68.6% reported female perpetrators,” the paper reports, while among men reporting being made to penetrate, “the form of nonconsensual sex that men are much more likely to experience in their lifetime … 79.2% of victimized men reported female perpetrators.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/11/the-understudied-female-sexual-predator/503492/

Cool Lester Smooth
4 years ago
Reply to  danny c

Dude, did you read the full article?

The 79.2% number is from a subset of a subset of a subset of sexual assault victims.

Looking at the numbers provided, 84.2% of sexual assaults are committed by men, including 65% of assaults on men.

imachainsaw
4 years ago

look at all the pissbabies in the comments that cant handle an article that puts the scope on the normalization of female abuse by wealthy and idolized men. they thought fangraphs was gonns be their safe space where they could pretend that men dont historically have systemic dominant position over women thanks to their insistence to look the other way and/or be given no more than a slap on the wrists for their violent behavior. some of them are boohooing about how men are also targets of domestic abuse as if they arent victimized by other men more often than by women. let them piss themselves more hbt, pissing and moaning is all theyve gotten good at.

danny c
4 years ago
Reply to  imachainsaw

look up women’s arrest and incarnation rates for committing violence. they get away with violent crimes SIGNIFICANTLY more than men do

Aardvark
4 years ago
Reply to  imachainsaw

Is it really too much to ask that Fangraphs not promote poorly-researched click-bait social commentary? If I want to be exposed to that, there are any number of internet gutters I can slum it in, left-or right-leaning. Fangraphs is a site about baseball, not a soapbox for someone’s social agendas. Or rather, I think that’s what most of its readers would like it to remain. I think a good part of its readership is made up of people with an analytical bent unlikely to be persuaded by anecdote and arguments stemming from emotion rather than fact. I believe that the FG community would be very receptive to a quality article that lays out the reasons why baseball has a problem. This article isn’t that.

Julie dicaro
4 years ago

How has no one mentioned the ridiculous quoting of Christine from Iowa about Pablo Sandoval. This is a friend of Jens who is not objective. They spend a lot of time going back and forth on twitter. It is no shocker that after Jen asked for opinions on king fu panda someone all of a sudden “remembered” a no nothing case from 2012.

Also the idea that women don’t play baseball because they aren’t allowed is silly. Women don’t play at the professional level because they are not as physically gifted as men. No matter what all the pseudo scientists with their made up pronouns want you to believe that is a fact. If a woman was good enough to play they would play.

In the end the author started with a confirmed bias and and even crowd sourced for fake reactions to a Pablo story from 2012. She then used the same recycled feminist lit garbage that is in every intro to women’s studies class as a backbone. Nothing original or new in this garbage.

We are all dumber for having read this. May god have mercy on your soul.

Really not sure how this got by the editorial process.

A Former Progressive
4 years ago
Reply to  Julie dicaro

CHRISTINE FROM IOWA! I meant to mention how the author is just quoting her Twitter friend like that means anything to anyone, but there was so much other stupidity I didn’t even have time.

This is the state of feminist intersectional research: gab with your friends on Twitter about your religion, then quote them as some kind of authority.

Does THT even know how much of a joke they’re becoming with anyone who possesses the ability to think critically?

imachainsaw
4 years ago
Reply to  Julie dicaro

you paraphrased your own self to add an extra unessecary paragraph that introduced nothing new to your whining rant and talk about “we are dumber for reading this”
it seems to me you were pretty fucking dumb to begin with

J.D. Bolick
4 years ago
Reply to  Julie dicaro

This undisclosed conflict of interest is very troubling, so thank you for sharing it. The editors of HBT really need to comment about this issue, among the other criticisms raised by the commenters. Clearly this should never have been published in its current form.

Paul G.
4 years ago
Reply to  Julie dicaro

I do have to quibble about women being blocked from playing baseball. There have been examples of women trying to play in the minor leagues followed by the local commissioner voiding the contract and establishing a de facto ban. The Hall of Fame mentions a couple of them in their women in baseball exhibit, most notably Jackie Mitchell who (probably) struck out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game. Kennesaw Mountain Landis voided that contract personally. There was an official ban in 1952.

Given that, I am pretty sure that the ban is now functionally void. It is impossible to imagine that the MLB would prevent a talented woman from playing. I think the likelihood that a woman would be good enough for the major leagues is remote, though not impossible, but I am pretty sure that there are some women out there that could play in the minors now if they thought that a good idea.

Cool Lester Smooth
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul G.

Melissa Mayeux is currently eligible to sign with an MLB team.

Kevin
4 years ago
Reply to  Julie dicaro

Actually, we’re dumber for having read your comment. That quote by Spalding is about as sexist as you can possibly get…. of course women can’t play MLB, you ****tard. He’s advocating that NO girl can play. At ANY level. Like, no high school softball, nothing. The statement is a product of an ignorant time and an ignorant person. Kind of like yours, actually.

Adam Halverson
4 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

Professional baseball consists of all baseball leagues in which the baseball players get paid to play. Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States, but it is definitely not the only one. You have minor league baseball as well, which consists of affiliated baseball (rookie ball, A, AA, AAA), as well as unaffiliated baseball, which consists of leagues such as the Atlantic League, Frontier League, Can-Am League, and the Mexican League(s). Granted, players outside of MLB receive a relative pittance in comparison (many must work a second job to support themselves and their families), but they are professional baseball players nevertheless.

Should I call you a ****tard because of YOUR ignorance? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Nobody’s perfect, and that goes the same for me and you. Ad hominems are not constructive, and do not positively contribute to discussions. Attack the argument, not the person.

Cool Lester Smooth
4 years ago
Reply to  Adam Halverson

I think you guys actually agree on this, haha.

Women are absolutely capable of playing baseball at the professional level, and several do so currently.

None are going to make the MLB anytime soon, but Julie’s claim is laughably ignorant, for the reasons you listed.

Adam Halverson
4 years ago

Ignorance is an inherent quality in every person – we’re all ignorant of something, but that doesn’t definitely prove a moral failing of some sort. Sometimes, it’s the tendency to generalize, or lack of understanding on some level. Let’s at least evaluate the sources of ignorance.

Evaluating what Julie said:
“Women don’t play at the professional level because they are not as physically gifted as men. No matter what all the pseudo scientists with their made up pronouns want you to believe that is a fact. If a woman was good enough to play they would play.”

This statement is only partially true. The truth is that men do tend to be physically superior to women is true (which is obvious at the respective top quartile or top 10% for each), and this is partially the reason why women lack a real presence in professional baseball. However, as is evident in Spalding’s statement, this fact has been taken to a biased extreme, and suggests that women cannot play professional baseball at all, which would constitute the other part of why women lack a presence in professional baseball (caricaturizing).

I believe that if a hypothetical simulation was conducted of a representative population of males to females, from birth, who freely and willingly participate in baseball (so, no gender barriers), we would see that:
1. Isolating gender roles (which we eliminate in this hypothetical simulation) from sexual predisposition (which would occur naturally), more men would sign up to participate in baseball than women – probably by a 2 to 1 margin. (Testosterone playing a role.)
2. Due to physical differences, a higher percentage of men, relative to the sample of males, would reach the ranks of professional baseball than the percentage of that of women, relative to the sample of women. But, given a sufficient sample size, some women would definitely reach the ranks of professional baseball.
3. In increasing levels of professional baseball, the sexual disparity would increase, due to the aforementioned reasons. While there may be a 15 – 20% share of women in rookie ball or A ball, that share would decrease quite significantly, if not dramatically, as one looks at the AAA or MLB level. Most likely, we would predominantly see women playing in positions which don’t place as much emphasis on offensive power, such as pitcher or shortstop.
4. Lastly, a bothersome eventuality – the prevalence of sexual harassment, assault, and violence, which would be issues that need to be dealt with immediately.

The tendency to caricaturize biases which are based on known fact is why we often see the effects of sexist leanings in society, but recognizing the entirety of the root causes is important in any informed discussion, in order to not be labeled “sexist” or “ignorant” while stating known facts that may be offensive to some people, such as the fact that men tend to be physically superior.

Now, with regards to the nature of my above response:

Julie: Women don’t play at the professional level because they are not as physically gifted as men.
Kevin: Actually, we’re dumber for having read your comment. That quote by Spalding is about as sexist as you can possibly get…. of course women can’t play MLB, you ****tard.

MLB is a subset of professional baseball, but baseball isn’t necessarily MLB. (In most cases in the U.S., it isn’t MLB.) And, as suggested above, informed discussion needs to take the place of ad hominem insults which do more harm to advancing the discussion than good. In only exceptional cases would I personally use ad hominems myself.

Adam Halverson
4 years ago

Corrections:

1. However, as is evident in Spalding’s statement, this fact has been taken to a biased extreme, and suggests that women cannot play baseball at all (which, of course, includes professional baseball) – I should have omitted the word “professional” in my original iteration of this part of my statement.

2. MLB is a subset of professional baseball, but professional baseball isn’t necessarily MLB. (In most cases in the U.S., it isn’t MLB.) – I originally omitted the word “professional” in the second instance of this word in my correction.

Cool Lester Smooth
4 years ago

Good looks.

The ad hominem was absolutely unnecessary, and destructive to the overall conversation we were trying to have.

john hinton
4 years ago

The phrase that bothers me is “toxic masculinity”. This is not a male problem. Hear me out. Read the news any day and it’s becoming commonplace to read stories of female teachers sleeping with underage male students. Is this a problem of “toxic femininity”? The answer in both cases is no. The problem is that as a society we are losing, have lost, our humanity. We are driven by base impulses. In whatever form they take: sex, power, greed. We want to “genderize” issues and in so doing we continue to drive a wedge between people. Our problems aren’t male/female per se, they are societal issues. Where humans behave like animals.

Adam Halverson
4 years ago

If there are any inconsistencies in my post, or if I took any portion of this article out of context, I do apologize in advance. I have worked on this for several hours. Feel free to reply constructively.

While this article comes across to me as an important one that raises the awareness of domestic and sexual violence, which are issues that need to be confronted on various levels, and makes some good points, there are also some serious flaws in certain editorial choices, the wording within the article, and interpretation of the cited sources and data. I also touch on and elaborate on a few points I do agree with (though mostly towards the end), to provide additional insight.

CONTENTS:

#1. JEURYS FAMILIA BEING USED AS THE ARTICLE HEADLINER
#2. ON PABLO SANDOVAL
#3. ON PABLO SANDOVAL (CONT’D)
#4. ON MICHAEL MASON AND JESSE MEAUX
#5. ON LUKE HEIMLICH
#6. ON “TOXIC MASCULINITY IN BASEBALL”
#7. THE MEDIA’S ROLE IN THESE MATTERS
#8. ON PATTERNS
#9. ON VICTIM BLAMING, PREVALENCE OF FALSE ACCUSATIONS
#10. ON APPROPRIATE ACTION
#11. ON CORRELATION AND CAUSATION
#12. ON WOMEN IN BASEBALL
#13. ON RESOLVING SEXUAL AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

***

#1. JEURYS FAMILIA BEING USED AS THE ARTICLE HEADLINER:

In evaluating the specific player chosen to headline this article, let’s evaluate the players who have been subject to discipline by Major League Baseball, under The Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy:

a) Hector Olivera (Atlanta Braves), suspended 82 games: left visible bruises on his victim, who was admitted to a hospital; was convicted
b) Jose Reyes (Colorado Rockies), suspended 52 games: inflicted multiple injuries to the victim’s face, left leg, and left scratches on the victim’s neck – victim was grabbed by the throat and shoved into a sliding glass door; charges were dropped
c) Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees), suspended 29 games: recklessly fired a gun 8 times in a garage during a dispute with his girlfriend; was not convicted
d) Jeurys Familia (New York Mets), suspended 15 games: NO EVIDENCE of physical assault, NO EVIDENCE of any threats of physical force or harm – a bedroom door was damaged, and two knives found on the bathroom floor were reportedly used to wedge the bathroom door shut; case was dismissed

Of the four players shown here, only one of them had not been proven to have physically assaulted the victim or proven to have used a weapon in a threatening manner – that is Jeurys Familia. Yet, he is chosen to represent the topic of Sexual Violence. While absence of evidence isn’t necessarily evidence of absence, “innocent until proven guilty” is the gold standard in the court of law in the United States. For that matter, Familia was the absolute wrong choice for the article headliner. I suppose Olivera wasn’t used, since he lacks name recognition, nor were Reyes or Chapman, probably due to their popularity. Nope. Familia filled in a happy medium between them. Yeah, that’s totally fair. Not.

Now, I don’t know who picked out the headline photo (it’s not always the author of the article/publication), but the choice made was, in my honest opinion, a very irresponsible one.

#2. ON PABLO SANDOVAL:

“In 2012, it became public that Sandoval had been accused of committing sexual assault. Though the sheriff of Santa Cruz (Calif.) County determined that Sandoval “did not sexually assault” the accuser, and no charges were filed, the incident left a bad taste in the mouths of several fans, some of whom are sexual assault survivors. When Sandoval re-signed with the Giants, the story again made its rounds on social media, and it became increasingly evident that the incident was far more significant than it originally seemed.”

Where are these social media sources? Where? For an article that uses 29 sources, I find the lack of this one, which uses a social media narrative as a premise to cast Sandoval in a negative light, very troubling. Also, perhaps more importantly, when has social media itself actually constituted a reliable source, outside of accredited and reliable Twitter accounts, like those of a major news source?

#3. ON PABLO SANDOVAL (CONT’D):

“…For those who knew [Sandoval’s] history — and more specifically baseball’s history — his continued presence in baseball comes as no surprise, his name joining a long list of other such players.”

Who are these people/sources, who supposedly (personally) knew Sandoval’s history? If they exist, are they credible? And if so, can their accounts be vetted? Also, have we forgotten the legal cornerstone of “innocent until proven guilty?” Also, it is important to note that you cannot disprove an allegation if it cannot be proven false, so we’re basically stuck with a bunch of possible hypotheticals… which do not constitute proof of wrongdoing by itself on any level. (Because otherwise, it would be “guilty until proven innocent.”) The burden of proof is not on Sandoval to prove that he definitely did not do what he is accused of doing, unless he is faced with substantial evidence against him. However, in any case, he can provide exonerating, exculpatory evidence if any such evidence exists, to (possibly) prove his innocence.

#4. ON MICHAEL MASON AND JESSE MEAUX:

“In 2013, two minor leaguers in the Rockies organization were charged with sexual assault. Pitchers Michael Mason and Jesse Meaux were then placed on the restricted list following the charges, but the charges were dropped in 2015. They have not pitched professionally since the arrest.”

While this does not definitively prove that Mason and Meaux did not commit sexual assault, if they did not actually commit the heinous charges that were brought against them, their careers were effectively ruined by allegations that had no basis in reality. (And, if they did actually commit any or all of those crimes, they got off relatively easy.)

#5. ON LUKE HEIMLICH:

“In amateur baseball, prior to the College World Series and June 2017 MLB Amateur Draft, Oregon State University’s Luke Heimlich’s status as a registered sex offender was reported by The Oregonian. As a result, Heimlich went undrafted, but he is not precluded from signing with a team at a later date.”

I highly doubt that any Major League Baseball organization would want to attract the negative attention and publicity that would accompany such a controversial signing. Unless Heimlich is provably exonerated within 10 years, the chances that any MLB organization would actually sign him, let alone even speak to him, are virtually nil. (The Ray Rice incident should provide some context here.)

#6. ON “TOXIC MASCULINITY IN BASEBALL”:

“These are but a sampling of the cases we know about publicly, and keep in mind that many more have gone and will go unreported, as is the case outside baseball and/or sports. These players are not aberrations, nor are they a few rotten eggs. It’s easy and tempting to dismiss them as such, but doing so dismisses the problem of toxic masculinity in baseball.”

Firstly, these issues are not exclusive to just baseball. I parenthetically referred to former NFL player Ray Rice in response #5 above. To focus on these issues simply in the realm of baseball misses the bigger picture and doesn’t accomplish much. Secondly, many of these issues are ingrained within certain facets of our society, and are more prevalent among some individuals who, on a certain level, may have an inflated sense of entitlement, those who may have deeply rooted feelings of inadequacy/insecurity, low self-image, and/or hostile views towards women. Thirdly, males who were sexually abused as children are more likely to exhibit these behaviors – to some of them, these behaviors have been normalized to an advanced degree. I wouldn’t necessarily go so far as to say that they don’t know that what they’re doing is wrong, but they often fail to understand the seriousness of what they have actually done. Lastly, the blanket term of “toxic masculinity” is one that could be left open to interpretation (e.g. is masculinity itself toxic, or are we just talking about the aspects of masculinity that are, itself, toxic?), is lacking in insight without further introspection and context than what is provided herein, and through certain points of view may even be seen as offensive, to the point of being counterproductive to this discussion as a whole (and we don’t want that!). While some aspects of “toxic masculinity” are discussed at a later point in the article, it never comprehensively describes this in the broader societal context, and limits its scope primarily to sports. (The abhorrent concept of “scoring” – having sex with as many women as possible – is by no means exclusive to sports. This is a societal issue, which happens to be more prevalent in sports, due to contributing factors such as a “herd mentality”.) In doing this, we ultimately fail to get to the actual source of the problem. Also, the psychological elements discussed within this article are surface-level, at best.

#7. THE MEDIA’S ROLE IN THESE MATTERS:

“Though the specific details of each of the above cases are different, they all feature the same pattern, from the accusations themselves to the responses to both the accused and victim. In these cases, much of the focus from stories in the media and people surrounding them rests on the accused and paints them as victims who have had their lives ruined by these allegations.”

Can we really expect the media to do anything else, other than report juicy gossip on TV and post clickbait stories of the sort mentioned here, strictly for profit and ad revenue? Asking the media to report on these stories accurately and to do so in a non-misleading manner is like asking a cat to stop licking itself. It’s not going to happen, especially in the age of Internet journalism. No – it is up to us, as people, to become knowledgeable and well-informed of what constitutes fact, and what constitutes speculation/conjecture. While people often say incorrect, inappropriate, and vile things on the Internet, regarding sexual/domestic violence, I also see many who are also well-informed and level-headed, and serve as a check and balance for ensuring that these issues get reported accurately, and get the proper amount and kind of attention.

#8. ON PATTERNS:

“Asheville defense attorney Steve Lindsay, who represented former Rockies minor leaguer Mason, was quoted saying the following after the charges were dropped: “This is a guy whose dream was to play professional baseball, and he has probably lost his baseball career forever.” … Lueke called his conviction of false imprisonment with violence “a freak accident kind of thing.” The article headline also says that Lueke was “moving forward,” as though being convicted of a violent crime was something to power through… And yet, in each instance, there was no mention of how the survivor’s life could’ve been, and most likely was, ruined, thus leading to the allegations. Telling the story only through the eyes of the famous person is an unproductive and unhealthy pattern.”

This is a classic example of cherry-picking. Two articles on the topic matter most certainly do not constitute a “pattern”. I do agree, however, that more attention needs to be focused on trying to understand and empathize with victims of domestic and sexual violence, and that people in general need to understand and learn the potential precursors and signs of this kind of behavior. (e.g. Obsessive, compulsive, possessive, or paranoid behavior.) These things need to be taught at some point during childhood. And once again, we cannot rely on media sources to be unbiased, especially if the source represents the professional baseball club of an accused player.

#9. ON VICTIM BLAMING, PREVALENCE OF FALSE ACCUSATIONS:

“This tendency to side with the aggressors is, viewing it from the other end, a tendency to blame the victims. Specifically, when the defendant is rich or poised to become a celebrity, as is often the case with professional or college athletes, people accuse the victims of making up allegations for the money. But this is extremely rare. In fact, women who accuse men of domestic violence or sexual assault often face harsh consequences in their personal and professional lives. A study by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center says the following … A review of research finds that the prevalence of false reporting is between 2 percent and 10 percent… Using qualitative and quantitative analysis, researchers studied 812 reports of sexual assault from 2000-2003 and found a 2.1 percent rate of false reports (Heenan & Murray 2006). The study also details how the definitions for false allegations are often inconsistent, and things like delayed reporting or vagueness in details can lead to a report being labeled as false, suggesting that the true number of false reports may be even lower. Either way, this study (along with the studies it aggregates to show its findings) shows that cases of accusers creating false allegations just for fame, victimhood, money, etc., are very, very slim.”

The statement that “the prevalence of false reporting is between 2 percent and 10 percent” suffers from a critical ontological error, and comes across as highly presumptive in tone – it should be revised, at least, to say that “a review of research finds that the prevalence of cases in which false reporting *has been proven* is between 2 percent and 10 percent.” Also, it would be nice to know what percentage of cases has resulted in a conviction of the defendant for sexual/domestic violence (like in the Hector Olivera case), and what percentage of cases involve an ongoing investigation, a cold case, or cases in which the findings have been deemed INCONCLUSIVE BASED ON LACK OF INCULPATORY OR EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE (this needs to be heavily emphasized), etc… Unfortunately, the author, despite her best intentions, commits the fallacy of treating all cases that have been proven false as necessarily consisting of a subset of all cases that are definitely false: “This study (along with the studies it aggregates to show its findings) shows that cases of accusers creating false allegations just for fame, victimhood, money, etc., are very, very slim.” Not necessarily is my response. (In fact, I would argue the exact opposite.) With that having been said, a false accuser knows that a public figure is less likely to retaliate violently against them regarding a false claim, because the public figure has so much to lose, and yet, are also prime targets for exploitation due to their wealth. In fact, it is not uncommon for a potential accuser to exploit the public figure, whilst threatening blackmail. The blackmail need not necessarily even involve sexual or domestic violence. (It could involve an extramarital affair, knowledge of illegal activity, or something else that would ruin the reputation/stakes of the public figure.) This is inherent in certain facets of human nature; to dismiss this entirely would be folly.

#10. ON APPROPRIATE ACTION:

“… Stephen A. Smith warned women not to “provoke wrong action” in the wake of the TMZ release of the notorious Ray Rice video…”

What Stephen A. Smith said here, like many other things that he has said, sends the wrong message. People tend to overestimate their ability to handle conflicts in advance, especially men, who think that walking away from conflict that could lead them to act out, may be a sign of being “emasculated” or “not standing one’s ground.” (Maybe this is what is meant by “toxic masculinity?”) However, walking away from a pressure cooker-type situation that could lead one to “lose it” is often the right thing to do, and the best way to avoid actions that could lead to dire consequences. Walking away from conflict and creating that distance allows one to decompress, analyze the situation rationally, gain perspective, and then return to navigate the conflict in a well-advised manner. Most importantly, it must be understood that nobody ought to force the other individual to do something against their will. In addition to assisting (potential) victims of sexual and domestic violence, these mechanisms also need to be taught and practiced early on, because this is ultimately how we solve a sizeable portion of these issues.

#11. ON CORRELATION AND CAUSATION:

“Though no definitive national study has yet been conducted, a growing body of evidence strongly suggests that, at least among college students, male athletes are more likely than male nonathletes to rape acquaintances and to take part in gang rapes… Of twenty-six gang rapes alleged to have occurred from 1980 to 1990, most involved fraternity brothers and varsity athletes, Chris O’Sullivan, a Bucknell University psychologist discovered (Guernsey, 1993)… It is the way sports are organized to influence developing masculine identities and male peer groups that leads many male athletes to rape… [This] implies that the structure of sports itself leads to the influence of young boys… A competitive nature begins and, while healthy competitiveness is good, competitions in other facets of life begin… Organized sports provide a social setting in which gender (i.e., masculinity and femininity) learning melds sexual learning… As we develop, sexual identity emerges as an extension of an already formed gender identity, and sexual behavior tends to conform to cultural norms. To be manly in sports, traditionally, means to be competitive, successful, dominating, aggressive, stoical, goal-directed, and physically strong. Many athletes accept this definition of masculinity and apply it in their relationships with women. Dating becomes a sport in itself, and “scoring,” or having sex with little or no emotional involvement, is a mark of masculine achievement. Sexual relationships are games in which women are seen as opponents, and his scoring means her defeat. Too often, women are pawns in men’s quests for status within the male pecking order. For many… jocks, sexual relationships are about man as a hunter and women as prey. In other words, a woman’s emotional and physical well-being is no longer considered at this point, and this type of dehumanizing behavior can empower male athletes to perpetuate a cycle of dehumanizing women. This behavior is not an inherent part of human nature, but rather a learned characteristic because of toxic masculinity disguised as team camaraderie.”

This is admittedly a tough one to address in its entirety, but it can certainly be done. In large gatherings of alpha male-types in general, behavior of this sort is bound to happen somewhere and at some time. This is not limited to sports. (Fraternity brothers are also mentioned here, which is suggestive.) While it was also mentioned that “nothing inherent in men leads them to rape women” and “nothing inherent in sports makes athletes especially likely to rape women,” there are certain factors that could increase the likelihood of rape, such as aggressive personality, narcissism, feelings of entitlement, and certain insecurities. When considering a group of alpha males, eventually, one of them will likely emerge as the “leader” of that group. The dominance need not necessarily be physical – it can also be psychological, as well. (A charming, cunning psychopath like Ted Bundy serves as a notorious example.) It is frankly surprising that an article of this sort that appears meant to be all-encompassing overlooks common factors and foregoes intrinsic psychological analysis, outside of terms like “competitiveness” and “toxic masculinity”. I don’t know if I’m being too harsh here (my intent is to be constructive, and to lead this topic in the right direction), but in order to address the issues of domestic and sexual violence, we need to understand what is going on in the aggressor’s head. MRI brain scans, detailing activity (or lack thereof) in certain areas of the brain, can be particularly revealing. With regards to societal context, a recent study (which, inconveniently, I cannot find) revealed the possibility that the majority of the U.S. population suffers from some form of psychosis (mild to severe). In conjunction with issues pertaining to Manufactured Consent from the media and peer pressure in general (think “brainwashing”), the problems that precipitate in domestic and sexual violence are broader than most of us realize.

#12. ON WOMEN IN BASEBALL:

“Women have been excluded from baseball, and many other sports, since the beginning, thus causing a greater rift in power structures between men and women. In addition, a woman’s concerns regarding baseball are often cast aside because it is not taken seriously. At BP Wrigleyville, Mary Craig writes, “For much of its early history, baseball was viewed as a sport belonging to the hard-nosed working class, a sport wholly unfit for women.” Albert Spalding, wrote the following in America’s National Game back in 1911… ‘Neither our wives, our sisters, our daughters nor our sweethearts, may play Base Ball on the field. […] Base Ball is too strenuous for womankind, except as she may take part in grandstand, with applause for the brilliant play, with waving kerchief to the hero of the three-bagger.’ The idea of gender roles and a women’s place heavily dictated how a woman should be a spectator for baseball, and for over a century there has been very little wiggle room in women’s exclusion. As a result, the power dynamic for men and baseball grew extreme, manifesting the idea of maleness and toughness. This also includes having the power to fly under the radar when accusations come out, just as Sandoval did.”

As the story behind A League Of Their Own illustrates (which is based on a true story), women most certainly can play baseball. However, issues will definitely arise if we’re discussing integrating women into the men’s circuit of baseball at or near the major league level. Consistently, in tests of physicality, the most athletically gifted women are on par with athletic men who are well above average, but not at a level sufficient enough to compete with the most athletically gifted men. This comes down to the hard facts of biology. Also, there is archaeological evidence to suggest that while women initially joined hunting and gathering men on expeditions, they tended to succumb to injury more often – therefore, the gender role of women as housekeeper and caretaker in that context naturally came about. Now, this should by no means be extrapolated or taken in a Socially Darwinistic fashion to mean that women should or must stay at home as housekeepers nowadays (because in the context of the modern workforce, that is an outdated sexist axiom); the point here is that in terms of sports competition, integrating women into men’s professional sports at the highest level isn’t necessarily a good idea. (Whether or not the sexual tension would necessarily create conflict in the locker room remains to be seen, but as this article here suggests, it’s probably likely, due to the prevalent “toxic masculinity” being mentioned.) At the very least, the idea and implementation of professional women’s baseball should be strongly considered. And no, “softball” is not a substitute for baseball for women – I do not support that view.

#13. ON RESOLVING SEXUAL AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:

“Sweeping the problem under the rug only leads to more violent crimes happening, because it becomes accepted within the culture and the norm of baseball. Complacency leads to continued behavior in this instance. The fact that allegations have been coming for years means that it’s not a problem that has been eradicated. To their credit, in August 2015, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association agreed on the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy. The policy has led to stricter suspensions, especially in instances of domestic violence.”

I applaud Major League Baseball and the MLBPA for jointly collaborating on the aforementioned policy. Some will argue that MLB should not serve as some kind of “moral compass” on matters outside the field or clubhouse, but I disagree with that. Many children and adolescents follow baseball (though not as much as they did 30 years ago), and need to understand that certain actions have real-world consequences. Baseball players, like us, are human – as humans, we are all capable of wrongdoing. Simply shaming those who commit sexual and/or domestic violence isn’t the answer (though appropriate discipline is necessary) – that is why there are resources available, where they may seek counseling, psychotherapy/Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and techniques on how to approach and deal with challenging situations that could lead to potential violence. Also, in terms of changing the paradigm and the cultural zeitgeist pertaining to treating all people with a sense of understanding, compassion, and empathy – especially women – we have a lot of work to do. Many of the same media sources that either subtly or explicitly cry “Sexism!” are often ironically the biggest drivers of sexism. (Sometimes, overcompensating by directing sexist epithets and innuendo against men – let there not be any double standards! An eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind. Also, feminism isn’t about “Female Domination” or about personalizing one’s genitalia as a form of one’s own identity, but it is about providing opportunities and choices for women.)

Everything else mentioned in the article, I have pretty much addressed, and I do not feel compelled to repeat myself on points already made. Also, I do agree that a “zero tolerance policy” is counterproductive as well, and goes against what I have said in terms of solutions.

John Autin
4 years ago
Reply to  Adam Halverson

This is a critical tour de force, Mr. Halverson. I admire your patience and diligence in calmly addressing the many points raised by the article, and its many flaws.

It is just such vetting that this type of article sorely needs before being published, but rarely gets. I find it sad that THT cannot apply the same rigorous standards that we routinely expect of purely baseball research.

Adam Halverson
4 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

Thank you very much for your kind words. I try my best to address issues like these in a concise and comprehensive manner, that seeks to leave nothing I’ve said open to interpretation.

It is all too often that articles about social justice, in general, contain subtext and implications that have the potential to create undue bias and encourage destructive actions and dialogue. While I give the author the initial benefit of the doubt that they mean well and have good intentions, there are some times where it is clear that a certain agenda or view is being advanced, that may not be in the best interest of remedying the aforementioned issues – I usually do not assume malicious intent.

A Former Progressive
4 years ago

Just so we’re clear, Title IX-style enforcement of sexual assault cases are what feminists are ultimately angling for with articles like these, discarding due process, creating kangaroo courts, and frequently forcing the defendants to prove that they’re NOT rapists, the complete inversion of Western law dating back for centuries.

And this is what it gets you. (Bonus points: from the lefty-friendly NYMAG)

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/08/a-bizarre-usc-case-shows-how-broken-title-ix-enforcement-is.html

John
4 years ago

Great article. The reaction to it is hilarious. Idiots.

MM
4 years ago

Unless the presented facts lead me otherwise, I’m going to side with those that are accused, and will do so until they are proven guilty.

Cliff
4 years ago

You mention accusations against 12 players. Of these, three were convicted or pled guilty to something, and another three are up in the air, leaving six players (including Sandoval) who were accused but either not charged or acquitted. What are these six doing in your article at all? Don’t we have a presumption of innocence in this country?

As I recall, the Giants held Sandoval out of games until he was cleared, After that, there was no reason for him not to play. And I haven’t heard of (and you don’t mention) any other charges against him, either before or after.