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David Ortiz thinks Shaughnessy’s PED accusations were culturally insensitive

May 10, 2013, 11:36 AM EDT

David Ortiz Reuters Reuters

I was going to say “racist” but Ortiz doesn’t actually say that. I think the phrase “culturally insensitive” is stupid. I dunno. Here are his words, translated from Spanish, over at ESPN Boston. You decide what he thinks:

“Yesterday, the guy came to see me and asked some questions about steroids, and when you see the writing, it basically focuses on the fact that I’m Dominican and that many Dominicans have been caught using steroids. And what about the Americans?” Ortiz said.

“If you’re from the Middle East, because there are some people there who put bombs and terrorize civilians, I have to see you like that, as well? If you are a white American, I have to call you a racist because white Americans were in the Ku Klux Klan?

Know what? The part where Shaughnessy noted that a reason for his suspicion was because Ortiz was Dominican wasn’t the part that agitated me the most. Maybe Shaughnessy was ham-handed in saying it, but if forced to explain himself I think there’s a non-racist/insensitive explanation having to do with the undeniable fact that PEDs are more freely-available in the Dominican Republic and that many high-profile PED cases of recent years involved Dominican players.

But I am with Ortiz generally in that Shaughnessy’s overall suspicion is baseless and unfair, and I think his points made later in the article about how he’s damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t are good ones.

  1. El Bravo - May 10, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    He may not be a racist but he’s clearly a dick.

    • billyboots - May 10, 2013 at 11:53 AM

      Dr. Peter Venkman: Yes it’s true. This man has no dick.

      • aceshigh11 - May 10, 2013 at 12:57 PM

        My name is PECK.

      • jdl1325 - May 10, 2013 at 12:57 PM

        My favorite line of any movie, ever.

    • brooklineobserver - May 10, 2013 at 2:16 PM

      It’s the Curse of the Shaughnessy. No coincidence that the day Shag went after David Ortiz, Ortiz’s hitting streak ended and the Sox reverted to their 2012 form.

      Shag is a shock jock who loves to stir up trouble. Rare has been the sportswriter in Boston with a greater penchant for mischief.

      Clearly, the wrong Globe sports columnist (Bob Ryan–class act) retired last year.

    • bigleagues - May 10, 2013 at 4:13 PM

      Like I said previously, this wasn’t Shaughnessy’s best executed column, but he did try and change up the lame formula that has become way to common in sportswriting these days.

      Shaughnessy told CSNNE that he wrote this column in order to address the increasing suspicion he is hearing with regard to Ortiz performance over the last two years, not the least of which was when the Toronto fans were chanting “ster-roids” each time he came to the plate.

      He asked tough, and I personally believe BASELESS questions directly to Ortiz face and then printed Ortiz responses in the column in modified interview type format – RATHER THAN, as is all too common, sheepishly writing those same baseless observations into a hatchet-style column, then deflecting all responsibility for the fallout to the player.

      Despite Shaughnessy’s shallow premise, I actually think this was a step forward for modern sports media. Let more columnists step up to a players face and confront them with unfounded premises, allow the player to respond, and include those responses in your dopey columns.

      Papi came off great. Shaughnessy not so much, but I still respect how he went about his business here.

  2. faulkner22 - May 10, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    Did Ortiz hire MSNBC to be his PR firm?

    • pilonflats - May 10, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      msnbc is pretty much a running joke, but I stand with big papi on this one!

      • manchestermiracle - May 10, 2013 at 12:08 PM

        Although they are laughably partisan, Fox’s version of partisanship puts them to shame.

      • heyblueyoustink - May 10, 2013 at 1:22 PM

        They’re all equally clownish and directly connected to the entertainment industry, thus news entertainment, not news. In other words:

        “This is television, that’s all it is. It has nothing to do with people, it’s to do with ratings! For fifty years, we’ve told them what to eat, what to drink, what to wear… for Christ’s sake, Ben, don’t you understand? Americans love television. They wean their kids on it. Listen. They love game shows, they love wrestling, they love sports and violence. So what do we do? We give ’em *what they want*! We’re number one, Ben, that’s all that counts, believe me. I’ve been in the business for thirty years.

        Ben Richards: Well, I may not have been in show business for as long as you have. But I’m a quick learner. And right now, I’m going to give the audience what *I* think they want.”

      • historiophiliac - May 10, 2013 at 1:47 PM

        The irony that you took that from a movie, blue, is rich. I love it.

        P.S. You might watch too many movies.

      • anxovies - May 10, 2013 at 1:48 PM

        Maybe he can hire Rachel Madcow to front for him on this one. (And I consider myself to be a liberal. Tells you something about MSNBC.).

      • heyblueyoustink - May 10, 2013 at 2:06 PM

        Awww, c’mon now Historio, you have to know i’m more balanced than your average tube zombie. It’s memory retention that allows me to remember these things.

        And on this forum, it might not ring as loudly as say something from George Gordon ( personal fave ) or Lao Tzu.

      • historiophiliac - May 10, 2013 at 2:37 PM

        I didn’t say anything about being unbalanced, blue, and maybe you shouldn’t sell some of us short. I broke out the ancient Greek ethics this am.

      • heyblueyoustink - May 10, 2013 at 2:49 PM

        I missed it, ancient Greek ethics or current Greek ethics?

        Back in the old days, they were some swingin’ cats.

      • heyblueyoustink - May 10, 2013 at 2:51 PM

        You say ancient right there, thumbing myself down, praying to Athena for forgiveness.

    • 18thstreet - May 10, 2013 at 12:36 PM

      What is your point. In both the Shaugnessy piece and the one, David Ortiz spoke for himself.

      I bring up politics as much as anyone on this message board, but I have no idea what the hell you’re talking about. As best as I can tell, you don’t like David Ortiz and you don’t like MSNBC and therefore … I got nothing.

      Craig is certainly more liberal than conservative, but are you under the impression that any of these NBC executives — (presuming that page is correct) — give a flying f over what Craig posts here? That Hardball Talk is all part of the liberal conspiracy to brainwash you into giving your gun to illegal Kenyans? And if you don’t like Craig’s take on sports, because you think it’s too laced with politics that you find offensive, then get the hell out. The Internet is a big place. This guy flows back and forth from conservative politics to the use of the DH. Maybe you’ll find him more to your liking.

      Until then, stop hijacking a thread about David Ortiz to blame MSNBC for whatever crawled into your oatmeal this morning.

      • tuberippin - May 10, 2013 at 5:24 PM

        “I bring up politics as much as anyone on this message board”

        Stop doing that.

  3. illcomm - May 10, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    PEDs are not more readily available in the Dominican. its just the US doctors and drug users are better at covering up.

    • djpostl - May 10, 2013 at 2:15 PM

      Lol actually they are. Read stuff now & then. It helps in moments like this.

      And more to the point, Big Sloppy can whine all day but nearly half of the players (majors or minors) by MLB for PEDs have either come from the Dominican or played in the winter league there when it happened.

      • tuberippin - May 10, 2013 at 6:00 PM


        * Number of Dominican players suspended or implicated in PED scandals: 23
        * Number of Venezuelan players suspended/implicated in PED scandals: 14
        * Number of Puerto Rican players suspended/implicated in PED scandals: 6
        * Number of Cuban players suspended/implicated in PED scandals: 5
        * Number of Mexican players suspended/implicated in PED scandals: 3
        * Number of American players suspended/implicated in PED scandals: 95

        Plus one Spaniard, one Canadian, one Japanese, one Colombian, one Panamanian (CHOOOOOCH), and one Australian.

        Don’t know where you’re from, but where I’m from, 23 is not “nearly half” of 152.

  4. cocheese000 - May 10, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Lol I think Ortiz went off the deep end here. Comparing steroids in baseball to terrorists and the KKK is a bit much for me.

    • Craig Calcaterra - May 10, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      Except that he’s not making such a comparison at all. He’s saying accusing someone of x because they are of ethnicty y is stupid and he’s using examples of people doing that to explain why.

      • cocheese000 - May 10, 2013 at 12:00 PM

        Gotcha. But isn’t Shaugnessy Irish? He could have said since he’s Irish than he must be a drunk.

      • nbjays - May 10, 2013 at 12:17 PM

        Wait… you mean he’s not?

    • pellypell - May 10, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      He could have also said since Danny is a red head, he has no soul…

      • paperlions - May 10, 2013 at 12:41 PM

        Yeah, but we already know that is true, red hair or not.

      • historiophiliac - May 10, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        Dude, my mom has red hair. She has ridiculous wrist strength for a little woman, but she’s not soulless. I mean, I questioned it a couple of times as a kid, but she turned out to be decent…and still has the red hair.

  5. gerryb323 - May 10, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Well seeing as “Dominican” isn’t a race, it’s not really racist anyway.

    • gerryb323 - May 10, 2013 at 11:56 AM

      I don’t really know the issue with the thumbs down here. If you want to talk about ethnicity or cultural stereotypes then fine. But the sooner we move on from the social construct of “race”, the better. Although I suppose we’re still a generation to close to segregation and to interracial marriages being illegal to hope for real abandoning of “race”.

      • gerryb323 - May 10, 2013 at 11:58 AM

        *too close
        /edit function

    • manchestermiracle - May 10, 2013 at 12:05 PM

      The ethnic composition of the Dominican Republic consists of two primary groups of people : Dominicans and Haitian-Dominicans. The majority of the population (73%) is Dominican, a racial mixture of black, white, and South American ancestry.

      In the sense that ethnicity and race are reasonably interchangeable one could easily make the case that “Dominican” is indeed a “race.” Thus the comments generalizing about a certain people is, in fact, racist.

      • manchestermiracle - May 10, 2013 at 12:06 PM


      • gerryb323 - May 10, 2013 at 12:10 PM

        Your comment illustrates my point. More and more we are becoming a mixed “race” society. My point was that we shouldn’t interchange them. But yes, in the sense that ethnicity and race are used interchangeably, you could make that case.

      • indaburg - May 10, 2013 at 4:51 PM

        While the majority may be dark skinned, there is a great variety of skin colors in the Dominican Republic. Some are black, some are white, and some are somewhere in between. My own family can attest to that–my family dates back several hundred years in the Dominican Republic, and we are a rainbow of colors. Referring to Dominican as a race is technically incorrect.

    • sabatimus - May 10, 2013 at 12:41 PM

      I think this argument is entirely semantic, and therefore not getting at the heart of the issue.

      • gerryb323 - May 10, 2013 at 12:43 PM

        I agree. I will now go punch myself in the face. Feel free to thumbs up that as much as you want!

    • brewcitybummer - May 10, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      Neither race nor ethnicity are biologically or genetically meaningful terms. Ethnicity is generally in reference to a group of people with a shared history or customs while race is increasingly becoming an off-hand way of saying pan-ethnic. Race is largely a social contruct stemming from traditional perceptions. To say something is not a race, to me at least, grants race a sort of concrete and demonstrable meaning that it really doesn’t have. Race clumsily groups together ethnicities, which themselves are slightly arbitrary and time specific. I get what you were trying to say but it misses the mark.

      • brewcitybummer - May 10, 2013 at 1:52 PM

        What I’m really trying to say is a person can be “racist” against an ethnicity if their perceptions are oriented towards that ethnicity is a stereotypical and negative fashion.

    • historiophiliac - May 10, 2013 at 2:29 PM

      Hmmm, maybe that’s why Ortiz said “culturally insensitive” instead of “racist” to begin with, and it didn’t translate to the Staters here very well because of cultural differences.

      • gerryb323 - May 10, 2013 at 3:40 PM

        I was going to say that, but then I didn’t see where Ortiz said “culturally insensitive” either.

      • historiophiliac - May 10, 2013 at 4:09 PM

        Those was Craig’s words? Dangit. I’m multi-tasking and didn’t read the article. 😦 Shutting up now.

      • historiophiliac - May 10, 2013 at 9:34 PM

        Okay, so I read it and Ortiz just says “Dominican.” It’s an interesting cultural difference that we hear that and think “ethnicity” or “race” which probably greatly simplifies what Ortiz understands as “Dominican.” Of course, the US has that past practice of reducing race to the singular (hence a “drop of blood” in your genetic makeup makes you black) — which we still tend to do (see “first black president”). Ortiz comes from a background with a more blended milieu and understanding. Hence, it is our understandings as well as our language that stands between us.

        For what it’s worth, a professional civil rights worker (awkward, but I don’t know how to say it simply) would probably look at this as national origin discrimination rather than race/color/ethnicity. Staters have a hard time separating race though.

  6. illcomm - May 10, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    plus u can’t judge a player om a short time frame. could just be a good month. but saying that, I wouldn’t be at all surprised that he is using something illegal to gain am advantage

    • shaggylocks - May 10, 2013 at 11:51 AM

      Right? I mean, Ortiz’s team won April, and then lost 3 of 4 to the Minnesota Twins.

  7. mungman69 - May 10, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    If you think that he is cheating, PROVE IT.

    • dirtyharry1971 - May 10, 2013 at 11:55 AM

      Actually Ortiz failed a drug test so its up to him to prove he isnt, with that i really dont care if he is or isnt because almost all of them are cheating in one way or another. So i say legalize PED’s and sunscreen and whoever is still standing is your champion

      • Liam - May 10, 2013 at 12:40 PM

        Ortiz is tested multiple times a year and hasn’t failed any of those. What type of proof are you looking for?

      • bigharold - May 10, 2013 at 2:02 PM

        “Ortiz is tested multiple times a year and hasn’t failed any of those.”

        So has A-Rod and he gets accused of using PEDs far more frequently than Ortiz. And, Lance Armstrong NEVER failed any test he was given. It took just about everybody he ever rode or trained with to rollover on him before they caught him.

        Ortiz is in a tough spot because just as Shaughnessy can’t prove that he has taken PEDs Ortiz’ clean test do not conclusively prove he hasn’t either.

      • Liam - May 10, 2013 at 2:30 PM

        I would never claim that his drug tests prove that he does not use drugs, but if you’re going to put the burden of proof on Ortiz (as dirtyharry did), then you have to explain what you would accept as proof. If a drug test doesn’t do it for you, then what possibly can?

      • bigharold - May 10, 2013 at 2:56 PM

        “If a drug test doesn’t do it for you, then what possibly can?”

        Frankly, as I said there is nothing. It’s too bad for Ortiz but he and every other player that used PEDs brought this on themselves. No player is above suspicion especially those that have already tested positive.

      • tuberippin - May 10, 2013 at 6:02 PM

        For once, harry, I agree with you on an issue. *golf clap*

  8. randygnyc - May 10, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    We don’t have to prove it. We only have to suspect it and say so. He’s not on trial. And if he was, as long as we aren’t on the bench or jury, we can still say it.

    • buddaley - May 10, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      Absolutely right. There is no law against being the village gossip.

      I have a stereotype in mind for those who trade in whispers, innuendo, accusations and the like. They are what used to be called “old biddies”, once objects of derision, now apparently respectable.

      By the way, you know Suzie, the young woman who wears those short skirts. Well…, she seemed to be gaining a little weight a while back, and then she disappeared for about 4 months-went on a vacation to Europe so her mother says. Wink, wink.

      And Marvin, you know the one who got busted for a DUI back about 10 years ago. Well, I saw him stumble as he went up the stairs to his house late last night. You know what I think….

      Sshh, girls, here comes Suzie now.

      • historiophiliac - May 10, 2013 at 1:11 PM


      • aceshigh11 - May 10, 2013 at 1:21 PM

        Randy’s prickishness has been spiraling out of control as of late.

        His personal life must be in full-on meltdown mode, so he lashes out at everyone and everything online to blow off steam

    • tuberippin - May 10, 2013 at 6:09 PM

      “I heard randy likes to wear frilly women’s clothing when he’s home alone”

      DID YOU GUYS HEAR THAT? I mean, we don’t have to prove it, we only have to suspect it and say so. Randygnyc is not on trial. He just wears frilly women’s clothing when no one else is around.

  9. vallewho - May 10, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    Wait….didn’t he test positive?

  10. themagicfanguy - May 10, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Actually the test results were inconclusive if I remember right.

    • sabatimus - May 10, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      MLB said he tested positive for something, but it was never revealed what it was. I do remember Ortiz saying he’d “get to the bottom of” it, but if he did I never heard what the result was.

  11. sammykbuck10 - May 10, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    It always seems like when there is no honest response, the race card is always played. Its a shame…

    • historiophiliac - May 10, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      You realize, of course, that saying someone is playing the race card is, in itself, playing the race card.

      • Old Gator - May 10, 2013 at 3:21 PM

        Not if party #1 was actually playing the race card.

        Although denying that the race card is being played is a subtle way of playing the race card without being accused of playing the race card. And as we all know, seeming not to play the race card while playing the race card is the most obvious way of playing the race card there is.

        Next to actually not playing the race card at all, which always invites accusations of having a race card up your sleeve – as well as to accusations of hiding a race card up your sleeve behind a flurry of split infinitives.

        Now, in between the “to” and the verb itself in the split infinitive misconstruction, there’s more than enough room to hide a race card. Ergo….

      • historiophiliac - May 10, 2013 at 4:14 PM

        That’s a negative, OG. Anytime someone tries to make the tragedy of our history into trite politics, their belittling effort is the only sleight in play. This is not a game.

  12. Stiller43 - May 10, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Didnt he ask those questions because he’s having great success at an advanced age? Add in the fact he’s tested positive before, and simply ASKING “hey, are you doing anything funny?” isnt so crazy to me.

  13. cocheese000 - May 10, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    How would Ortiz feel about a middle eastern terrorist in the kkk on steroids ?

    • historiophiliac - May 10, 2013 at 1:09 PM

      I don’t really find Dave Chappelle that funny.

      • indaburg - May 10, 2013 at 4:56 PM

        Oh, woma, really? Dave Chappelle’s stuff slays me. “Open and shut case, Johnson. I saw this once when I was a rookie. A n*gger broke into a house, put up pictures of himself and his family everywhere. Just to be on the safe side, sprinkle a little crack on him.” (I didn’t have to look any of that up. I keep that filed in my frontal lobe, left side, next to where’s my wallet/keys/phone?)

      • historiophiliac - May 10, 2013 at 5:31 PM

        Meh, he’s not my thing. I dig some others but I never enjoyed Chappelle.

      • indaburg - May 10, 2013 at 4:57 PM

        And also where I keep those pesky letter ‘n’s…

      • tuberippin - May 10, 2013 at 6:10 PM

        Dave Chappelle is hilarious.

  14. jimmyt - May 10, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    He is a cheater and it has nothing to do with race.

    • Old Gator - May 10, 2013 at 3:23 PM

      Aha! I sense behind your denial a subtle way of playing the race card!

  15. joowishy - May 10, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    If Ortis hadn’t already been linked this would be unfounded. But he has so he needs to get over it. Other baseball players brought this cloud over the Game. Not reporters and fans.

  16. sabatimus - May 10, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    The interesting thing here is that, at least since the interview (if not before), Ortiz is 0-for-Dan Shaughnessy. He’s 6-for-34 (.176) since and including May 1.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 10, 2013 at 1:45 PM

      You mean looking at a 14 game spread isn’t indicative of a player’s real talent?

  17. bigharold - May 10, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    “… Shaughnessy’s overall suspicion is baseless and unfair, and I think his points made later in the article about how he’s damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t are good ones.”

    Come on Craig that’s a bit much. I’m kind of surprised that yourself a journalist would bash another for doing his job.

    Shaughnessy would be unfair if in fact Ortiz had never tested positive. But he did test positive. Furthermore he stated he’d; “..find out what I tested positive for. And,… whatever I learn, I will share this information with my club and the public.” And guess what he found out? Who knows because that’s as far as it went. He must have hired the same investigative team that OJ hired to find the killer of his ex wife and Ron Goldman.

    The thing is that David Ortiz put himself in the position to be suspected by failing a test. That is exactly sufficient basis to have suspicion concerning a player. So, your contention that “.. Shaughnessy’s overall suspicion is baseless ..” is flat wrong. Is that fair? Well that’s a mater of opinion but, yes I think it is. It’s fair to suspect Ortiz or A-Rod or Manny or anybody else that has failed a PED test. It’s also true that although he’s never failed another test that doesn’t translate into he’s never used PEDs again either. I agree that Ortiz is in a tough spot because it’s impossible to prove beyond any doubt that he’s never used PEDs again. But, thinking that he might have is the direct result of his actions. So yeah it’s fair.

    And, that “.. damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t ..” thing swings both ways. Sports journalist looked terrible because they largely ignored PED in baseball until Canseco, The Imbecile outed MLB’s cheaters in his book. Seeing the resurgence of a power hitter this late in his career, .. one that has already tested positive, .. should generate the thought that he might be cheating. Shaughnessy is just doing legitimate journalism, .. asking the icky questions that everybody else, .. outside the Nation, is thinking. I realize Shaughnessy is a polarizing figure but he’s within bounds on this one. And, he asked the man the questions to his face and allowed him to respond and explain himself which counts too. He could have been like most columnist and just torpedoed Ortiz in his column because either way it was going to come down to people taking shots at Shaughnessy just because he’s Shaughnessy.

    The bottom line is Ortiz isn’t an innocent bystander in all this and Shaughnessy is asking legitimate questions in a forthright way. The only way these questions are baseless is if one completely ignores the history of PEDs in MLB and David Ortiz’ connection with them.

    • gerryb323 - May 10, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      I agree. For years the “established sportswriters” have been skewered for not having asked these exact types of questions to McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, etc.

      Now, Shaughny asks the question and he gets reamed. What do you want?

  18. onbucky96 - May 10, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Whatever. At least Big Pappi remembered how to speak English. Unlike Sammy Sosa.

    • Old Gator - May 10, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      Hey! Are you playing the race card here?

  19. charlutes - May 10, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    I told y’all this was racism yesterday. More attention for Shaughnessy which is what he wants.

    • Old Gator - May 10, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em….

      • bigharold - May 10, 2013 at 6:51 PM

        You not going to let go the card sub-reference are you?

      • Old Gator - May 10, 2013 at 8:35 PM

        No, but only because I’m so sick of the phrase that I figger maybe I can beat the damned thing to death once and for all.

      • bigharold - May 10, 2013 at 10:07 PM

        Good luck with that!

  20. masonicmuseum - May 11, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    Guilty as charged. Look at his age and his record. He should be banned.

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