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Are the Astros hypocrites for signing Brett Myers?

Jan 11, 2010, 12:00 PM EDT

The Astros blog Crawfish boxes raises an interesting question regarding the Astros’ signing of Brett Myers, who as most of you know, has a domestic violence history:

Considering the Astros once designated a player for assignment before
the story of his domestic violence charges even broke, this seems very
hypocritical . . . you can’t have it both ways. The Astros made the decision to deal with
Julio Lugo’s situation by immediately cutting ties with him. A valuable
player, Lugo was let go as the organization made a decision based on
off-the-field behavior. They drew a line at what’s acceptable behavior.
If that’s how they want to run things, I’m fine with it , but you lose
any moral high ground when you sign another guy with an alleged
incident in his past.

In the case of Lugo and Myers I can see a distinction in that Lugo’s thing was happening in real time while Myers’ was some time ago and maybe, just maybe, he’s made some kind of showing of rehabilitation or whatever that Lugo had not yet had a chance to do. And it’s probably worth noting that, though no one ever disputed what happened with Myers and his wife, the charges were dropped.  That aside, I have to be honest and say that I have no idea what I’d do about guys with domestic violence issues if
I ran a baseball team.

On the one hand it’s really easy to say “screw
him, I don’t want him within 100 yards of my clubhouse.”  But if you’re not merely sitting back and casting judgment — say, if you’re running a major league baseball team — you have to make some tough moral judgments about people. About their accusers, if the matter hasn’t been fully resolved by the justice system yet. Hell, about he justice system itself.  Then you have to weigh that against the fact that your mission as a general manager is to win baseball games first and foremost, and that the jobs of many others depend on you carrying out that mission. Then you have to re-weigh that against the fact that, as a professional sports team, you do have some sort of public mandate however vague it may be. People notice what you do, and that matters. It’s the sort of mission for which a baseball front office isn’t really designed, so I’m not at all surprised that there has yet to be a definitive rule book written about this yet.

Personally I wouldn’t invite Brett Myers or Julio Lugo to my house for dinner. Hell, I’m a longtime Braves fan and the most I can muster for Bobby Cox — a guy who was charged with punching his wife the year the Braves won the World Series — is a cold admiration of his abilities while harboring more or less ill feelings for him personally.

But it’s one thing to cast judgment from afar and another thing altogether to run a ballclub. If I had to make a choice right now I’d probably cut Lugo, say no to Myers and steer clear of anyone else with that kind of history.  But I think the issue is a bit too complicated in practice for the Astros to be accused of hypocrisy on this point.

  1. Skids - Jan 11, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    In Bobby Cox’s case, he was exhonerated. Even his wife said he didn’t do it. So as a former lawyer, Craig, you should know that means he’s not guilty. Don’t judge.

  2. Craig Calcaterra - Jan 11, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    Skids, according to the news stories I read before writing this, Cox’s wife told the police that Bobby hit her. Bobby was charged under Georgia’s Domestic Violence Act with simple battery. He was accused of punching his wife and pulling her hair. Rather than go to trial, the case was dismissed on the condition that Pamela Cox attend a battered women’s program and Bobby complete violence counseling and an alcohol evaluation.
    Just because no criminal conviction happened doesn’t mean that nothing bad happened. They don’t send women to battered women’s programs and men to violence counseling for misunderstandings. Not guilty does not mean innocent.

  3. Joey B - Jan 11, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    Just a guess here, but if a guy on the street did time for a bar room brawl, and was reformed, I think most people would agree that he should be allowed back into society, and that means employment. If we hold Myers assault against him forever, no matter how heinous it was at the time, wouldn’t we have to hold everyone’s transgressions against them forever?
    It ‘sounds’ worse to assault your wife, but is really much different than drunk driving where you could literally wipe out a family?

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  5. Ralph - Jan 11, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    May be true, Norton. But I never hit her.
    Actually, I was more scared of her than she probably was of me.

  6. JIM - Jan 11, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    was Ed Wade GM when the Lugo decision was made? Wade did get rid of Shawn Chachon ever he was assaulted by him…
    anyway, the Phils were the team that should have disciplined Myers at the time, and they didnt..im glad he’s finally out of town…can’t blame another team for signing him now
    i believe Wade is the one who originally drafted Myers in Philly, so he’s hoping he can finally fulfill his potential

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  9. Eat a Peach - Jan 12, 2010 at 8:35 AM

    You must be one of those Jersey Shore washouts. First you equate a barroom brawl with a grown man punching a woman in the face. It doesn’t just “sound” worse to punch your wife than to get in a bar fight, it *IS* worse, you fucking mesomorph douche-cunt you. And what the fuck exactly does drunk driving have to do with the Astros double standard? Or with domestic violence? Stop injecting steroids into your brain.

  10. Joey B - Jan 12, 2010 at 8:29 PM

    “First you equate a barroom brawl with a grown man punching a woman in the face. It doesn’t just “sound” worse to punch your wife than to get in a bar fight, it *IS* worse, you fucking mesomorph douche-cunt you.”
    Not a lot of need for reading comprehension in your life, is there?
    The analogy of the barroom brawl was made as an example of how we can punish the guilty, but then allow them back into society.
    Secondly, the analogy for assaulting your wife was to compare it to drunk-driving. Are you saying that drunk-driving is no less heinous than aasaulting your wife?
    Or did you just not read it very well?

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  12. Rich - Jan 13, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    Both are terrible crimes but to say a DUI without any accident occuring the same to a man actually punching any woman in the face as equal crimes is just wrong. Why don’t you say that a drunk driver killing a person in a accident is the same as a person who executes a person with a pistol in the back of the head. I hope you can see now that one is a intentional, person crime and the other is by-product of a stupid, horrible decision. The word here is intent, no?

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