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MLB announces new anti-sexual orientation discrimination and harassment policies

Jul 18, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

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Back in 2011, MLB and the MLBPA added anti-sexual discrimination language into their collective bargaining agreement for the first time. On Monday the league and the union, in conjunction with New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, announced a copy of a new Workplace Code of Conduct aimed at protecting current and future MLB players from discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation. The league and union also agreed to new training policies as well as a centralized complaint system for reporting incidents involving harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Some specifics seem aimed at the folks who may have the most power to craft first impressions of young players who may be gay: scouts and farm directors. As part of the policy the league will disseminate materials on sexual orientation non-discrimination to all club scouting and farm directors involved in the acquisition of amateur talent.

This seems pretty savvy to me because if a player is going to be adversely impacted based on perceptions of his sexual orientation, the greatest impact could theoretically come because the gatekeepers are the ones perceiving it. I mean, if someone is at Double-A hitting .360, people will probably be OK no matter what he’s all about. But when that first impression comes prejudice and discrimination could impact his ability to get a fair shake. Indeed, one line about his “makeup” in a scouting report could make all the difference in the world.

Bud Selig and union chief Michael Weiner each issued statements about the new policy. Selig:

“I expect all those who represent Major League Baseball, as a social institution that has important social responsibilities, to act with the kind of respect and sensitivity that our game’s diverse players, employees and fans deserve. We welcome all individuals regardless of sexual orientation into our ballparks, along with those of different races, religions, genders and national origins. Both on the field and away from it, Major League Baseball has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation.”


“The Major League Baseball Players Association supports and promotes a discrimination-free workplace, and firmly believes that every individual is entitled to pursue his or her career in an environment that is free of any type of harassing behavior. Additionally, the MLBPA embraces diversity and supports a workplace environment that welcomes all regardless of race, religion and sexual orientation.”

I find it interesting that the New York Attorney General is the one sort of pushing this — the press release announces him working with the NFL too, so apparently he has decided sports leagues with headquarters in New York are priorities — but no matter what the inspiration, it’s good to see the league address this now rather than have to do so later as the result of some unfortunate high-profile incident.

  1. aceshigh11 - Jul 18, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    Oh, yeah…this should be a nice, calm, reasoned discussion…

    *grabs popcorn*

    • hopeannoysme - Jul 18, 2013 at 8:20 AM

      Sadly, the only ones who would have an issue with this would be the ones making an issue of it in the first place – rationalizing their crappy insecurities.

  2. tfbuckfutter - Jul 18, 2013 at 8:22 AM

    Unless a player is banging a celebrity or model I could care less what he’s doing with his dong.

    I don’t care about his damn weiner kids, I don’t care if his wife looks like Heath Bell’s wife, I don’t care if he drives a Datsun.

    • historiophiliac - Jul 18, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      Hey, hey, hey, let’s not rush to dismiss that Body Issue now.

    • tfbuckfutter - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:41 AM

      I like that all the thumbs down are from people admitting they DO care about players’ dongs…..

      Or multiples from a few people who REALLY care.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:44 AM

        Do I get points for really caring?

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      Hahaha! He said “dong.” Then…he finishes with the word “Datsun.”
      Please know the word “Datsun” isn’t funny (in and of itself) like the word “dong” is.
      But the vehicle itself is very funny. Since we are talking about Datsuns….let’s throw Chevettes into the conversation.

      • birdman6824 - Jul 18, 2013 at 2:03 PM

        Chevette ? hell no!
        Datsun 1600/2000 roadster
        Datsun 510
        Datsun 240Z

        Chevettes were hunks of lead on wheels

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Jul 18, 2013 at 7:52 PM

        Hey pal, I drove my Datsun B210 for 17 years. Awesome car. Got it going to 90mph on a nearly empty N.Cal freeway one day, for a few seconds, until I could feel the bolts loosening.

  3. Jonny 5 - Jul 18, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    Well, I’d like to say first of all that it’s a shame that MLB has to implement such programs in the first place, but due to human ignorance they do have to do something even if it doesn’t work. Which I feel it won’t work too well. Most of the issues it covers will probably happen in a clubhouse environment and with little to no witnesses. If there are witnesses, is this incident going to become known by MLB possibly hurting the team, when it’s the team who should report it? Probably not. And just like urine tests which are scientific, the charges will be fought tooth and nail by high priced attorneys. Just like driving while intoxicated, or speeding, or running red lights, it’s also a flaw of human nature to expect to get away with the things you are prohibited from and continue to do it even if it’s wrong or against the rules. It’s also a flaw of our “justice” system to allow these folks the utmost opportunity to get the hell off. Look at Braun. If you don’t think that a person “charged” with breaking these rules isn’t going to fight this tooth and nail, and turn this into a “He said, She said” situation than you’re dead wrong. I have to give kudos to mlb for doing something even if it really doesn’t work. Just like with Jackie Robinson, it’s going to take acceptance from teammates and opposing teams to fix this problem, rules change very little in this case I’m afraid. It does give MLB the right to say, “See we fixed it!”. Even if it changes little. (half hearted golf clap for mlb)

    • heyblueyoustink - Jul 18, 2013 at 8:41 AM

      ” acceptance”

      You are spot on. No matter how many rules you implement into any branch of “civilized” society, the only way to truly achieve the spirit of what they’re trying to do will lie in the players and coaches starting at low A ball and moving all the way up to the top, will be their level of acceptance.

      Once that is achieved, there can be role models, and all things positive progression moving forward.

      • Jonny 5 - Jul 18, 2013 at 9:04 AM

        If we as parents instilled the “acceptance” we should into our children then we wouldn’t have any issues to begin with. Unfortunately we as people find ways to make ourselves feel better/ superior to others for the silliest of reasons and impart those feelings no matter how false into our children all the time. All parents are probably guilty of this at many different levels actually. “Those Marlins fans stink, they never show up to the games!” “Look at that piece of crap house!” “Those people are dirty!” “Don’t you pick your nose, nose pickers are disgusting!” Hey, these are much weaker versions of the discussion above, but all of us can turn little Billy on the playground into a disgusting nose picking freak in our children’s eyes if we aren’t careful.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 18, 2013 at 9:22 AM

        I’m not a parent, but my Father taught me from an early age to at least listen to and think about every viewpoint I hear, no matter what I think personally, because understanding people is a good start to getting along with them, even if you disagree. And also to never be a victim.

        Sometimes I think the old man should write a book on how to live life.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 18, 2013 at 10:13 AM

        You’d be surprised how many people need the threat or punishment of financial damages to do something about harassment. Hell, we’ve had such protections for other categories for years in the US and still harassment persists. Plus, there will inevitably be grey areas — as in all things.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 18, 2013 at 10:51 AM

        I wouldn’t be so surprised, we have become something of a litigious society afterall.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 18, 2013 at 10:54 AM

        I hate it when people say that. The system is DESIGNED to be litigious. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. We’ve been litigious from day 1. It’s a replacement for letting a king decide everything. Sheesh.

      • paperlions - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:45 AM

        You also have to have such a policy in order to actually do anything about behavior. You can’t NOT have a policy about something and then punish people for the thing you have no policy on. That is like saying it is a shame we have to have murder laws…well, I suppose, but the fact is that people will be killing people if we have the laws or not, and without the laws…well, it’d be rather hard to have a systematic way of dealing with such things. Lynch mobs didn’t really work well.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:05 PM

        You are on point with regards to the litigious society in which we live.
        Regardless of whether we are “designed” to be litigious (and I firmly believe we are)…we have people suing for the sake of suing. That is most certainly not what was intended.

      • Jonny 5 - Jul 18, 2013 at 1:04 PM

        PL, I agree. I wasn’t saying the policy should not have been created, only that it will do little to nothing to change “people”.

      • Reflex - Jul 18, 2013 at 1:58 PM

        Historio – Thanks for pointing that out. I hate it as well when people go on about lawsuits and litigiousness and misunderstood ideas of what the McD’s coffee lawsuit was about. This is a sign of *health* in our system, and it is a good thing. And most of the cases people refer to as frivolous were not, they just remember a piece of the case and not the whole thing, judges have a right to dismiss lawsuits that actually are frivolous…

        Anyways, I could rant. I will stop before I do.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:09 PM

      “If we as parents instilled the “acceptance” we should into our children then we wouldn’t have any issues to begin with.”

      This right here! Well stated Jonny.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 18, 2013 at 2:48 PM

        No kidding. Would love to know what’s with the 1;2 ratio of up to down votes.

  4. ndnut - Jul 18, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    I feel like a gay player would have no problems with other players. Coaches and scouts are a whole other animal.

    • paperlions - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      Fans and owners are the animals that should be most concerning to me. Coaches and scouts really only care if a guy can help you win.

  5. historiophiliac - Jul 18, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    Thank you, NY. Businesses operating in that jurisdiction have been subject to regulations about sexual orientation harassment for some time, so it’s no wonder that their AG is pushing for MLB to be compliant as well. It’s about time they got a policy at least. That’s a first step. I know everyone’s thinking of the players here, but, really, most of the complaints they’ll probably get will be from regular employees. Honestly, I would probably enjoy being the investigator who gets to be the first to get up MLB’s ass on a complaint. :)

    • Old Gator - Jul 18, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      Um…histy…you maybe wanna re-phrase that closing line?

      • historiophiliac - Jul 18, 2013 at 10:42 AM

        No, I’m really good with the ass exam thing.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:05 PM

        Where you been Gator? Vacation?

      • Old Gator - Jul 18, 2013 at 2:15 PM

        I wish. Two very major publisher’s deadlines to meet by the end of the month. That means my poor old eyes are getting worn against my glare screen and brain undeath settles in around ten PM – which is to say, I have to go out searching for street waifs to supply fresh blood to keep the meninges from collapsing like the walls of an empty swimming pool after a week of torrential rain saturates the ambient soil. I do poke my barbels into the blog once or twice a day on lunch or dinner break to see what’s doing. Right now I’m imbibing a nice cold guanabana and lime on ice with my feet up on the desk and typing with my free hand while droplets of condensation form on this frosty glass.

        Unless something extraordinary happens, though, I’ll be refraining from pretending to give a rat’s patootie about Bufogenesis, PEDs, divisional races in the middle of July, trade rumors not involving the Iron Giant or the comments of the usual run of anencephalics infesting this particular cyberlogical niche. I’m here if you need me, though.

      • kevinbnyc - Jul 18, 2013 at 4:07 PM

        Gator, we always need you.

  6. jerseydevi1 - Jul 18, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    “Acceptance” This combined with HeyBlue’s comments “understanding people is a good start to getting along with them, even if you disagree.” Seem to have become two ideas that don’t get said together very often, even though they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

    I was brought up a certain way with certain moral values and religious beliefs that may or may not “Accept” the gay orientation. However, as HeyBlue mentioned, I was also told that “understanding people is a good start to getting along with them, even if you disagree.” is a key part of civilized society. To that end, while I may hold certain values that others do not, it does not mean that I feel others that disagree should be ostracized and demeaned. I accept and understand them and expect the same in return. Heck, I don’t always agree with my Wife on these things, but I still love her to no end and respect her point of view regardless.

    Just sayin’

    • jerseydevi1 - Jul 18, 2013 at 9:46 AM

      Forgot to add the main point…as long as said player is doing his job and helping the team win, I could care less what he does with his life. Always do what’s best for you and yours first. Everything and everyone else is secondary.

      When that person passes, it will be up to him and his maker to decide if his life was good and acceptable, but it will never be up to me to decide that.

  7. gibbyfan - Jul 18, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    I think I need to get another cup of coffee to wake up this morning—confused that most of the comments above seem supportive and well reasoned but most getting thumbs down —disconnect or am I missing something?

    • tablescrappy - Jul 18, 2013 at 10:44 AM

      It’s likely because one creep keeps hitting refresh and clicking thumbs down over and over. Or because idiots.

    • metalmeathammer - Jul 18, 2013 at 10:48 AM

      bigots normally tend to disagree without backing their argument.

      • gibbyfan - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:05 AM

        Makes sense Metal..Had that cup of coffee and feel better..thought I might be misreading the comments but what you say seems logical……….I mean if your a fan of the game and find out a player on your team is gay—my thinkng is what possible difference could that make ?

    • nbjays - Jul 18, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      Just the thumb harpy getting their morning workout in.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      No disconnect Bob. Just the resident moron gettin’ his thumbs on.

  8. rick2248 - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Whats wrong with looking at women as sex objects men have been doing that for years.

  9. tfbuckfutter - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    Sorry…..I do feel someone needs to give the counterpoint to this…..


    • historiophiliac - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:05 PM

      Do you think this means we’ve finally all evolved???

    • Reflex - Jul 18, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      Is Steve even a biblical name? I would have preferred something like “Its Adam and Eve, not Adam and Methuselah” Yeah it doesn’t rhyme, but so what?

    • gibbyfan - Jul 18, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      I seriously and totally respect that TF but what does that have to do with rooting for a player–assuming his sexuality isn’t having a direct impact on you. See comments from Jerseydevil above–

    • juridicus2013 - Jul 18, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      Yeah, Adam and Eve and don’t forget the TALKING SNAKE…….hmmm, yeah, that’s something to believe in……eaten any shellfish lately? worked on Sunday? worn cotton and wool together? isolated your mom or sisters during their menses? some counterpoint

    • dcarroll73 - Jul 18, 2013 at 4:18 PM

      One’s own religious beliefs are no excuse for violating labor laws, and since at least 162 MLB games are played in the state of NY (Mets and Yanks home games, and I’m still hoping for more with Yanks play-off games) not to mention those in other states with sexual orientation protection (I believe at least Massachusetts is one) there really must be an MLB policy on this which they enforce or they are in big trouble. Obviously if someone found that as a matter of conscience he/she couldn’t work under particular rules, that might force them to go elsewhere. You as an individual fan can always choose to boycott MLB (as many KKK members probably did after integration not to make too harsh a point.) I would hope that since your comment implies you are what I would call a child of the Book you would show love and charity to people even if you disapprove of their behavior. Take care, tf…, and I hope I haven’t stepped on your toes.

    • tfbuckfutter - Jul 18, 2013 at 6:44 PM

      Jesus Christ, are you guys serious with these responses?

  10. hustle4256 - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Does this mean that the Astros are going to bring back those rainbow uniforms?

  11. sandrafluke2012 - Jul 18, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    Discrimination policies= liberal feel good intentions with bad results. read an economics book

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