Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Should A Hitter Pitch?

Late Thursday night, Phillies pitcher Brett Myers was seen hitting his wife outside their hotel in Boston. Saturday afternoon, Myers was allowed to take the mound as the starting pitcher against the Red Sox. What kind of message does that send?

As Dan Shaugnessy wrote in the Boston Globe,

It's just plain wrong. It's an embarrassment to baseball and an embarrassment to the Phillies. At the very least, Myers would have been better off if he'd been sent home to start counseling with his wife. Or maybe someone in authority could have condemned domestic violence -- in the generic sense. Instead all we got was ``the game must go on" -- 36 hours after a man was arrested for beating his wife.
When I talked about this on my KMOX show yesterday, several listeners lambasted me with comments like Don's:
People are innocent until proven guilty. I suspect that Mr. Myers IS guilty, but reprehensible crime or not, he has not been PROVEN guilty. I'm happy for all of us that talk show hosts and callers do NOT constitute a judge and jury. People in this country who have been accused of a crime and released on bond are free to go to work and do whatever they do for a living. Clearly he should not get special treatment because he is a celebrity (although OJ did), but neither should he be convicted without a trial.
I replied:
And what do you do if his case never makes it to court, probably because his battered wife refuses to file charges? We may be looking at a classic case of Battered Woman Syndrome here, since she's the one who bailed him out Thursday night, even though witnesses had heard here screaming, "I'm not going to let you do this to me again!" Do you just let it go? What you would do if you were his employer and he was about to go out and represent your company in the spotlight of public opinion.
Take it off the baseball field and into corporate America -- if Myers were an executive who was scheduled to make a huge sales presentation to a major client right after news came out of an incident like this, do you put him front and center at the meeting? I doubt it very much. This wasn't just an incident that took place behind closed doors, with a he-said-she-said accusation. This took place in front of other people, who were so horrified that they called 911.

There needs to be counseling, someone needs to check into the home situation to see if Kim Myers needs help extricating herself from an ugly situation, whether Brett Myers' performance is being affected by whatever the hell is going on, why a 6'4" 240-pound professional athlete is hitting a 5'4" 120-pound woman, etc.

I'm not convicting him of the crime and sending him to prison, I'm saying he shouldn't have been allowed to pitch a mere 36 hours after the incident, and that by doing so, the Phillies showed that they don't care about domestic violence and its victim. Shame on them.

Update 6/27 5:09pm
Myers just announced that he's taking a "leave of absence" so he can "concentrate on this matter and make plans for whatever assistance is appropriate." He admitted that his behavior was in appropriate and apologized.

Phillies team president tried to do some image-saving:

"We abhor such violence and recognize that it is a very serious problem affecting a substantial number of victims, particularly women, across the country. If we have been guilty of delay in expressing these sentiments, we are sorry."

I'm guessing the team will be writing a large check to some battered-women's shelter or cause soon. More here.