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Jon Niese bristles at the media reporting Dan Warthen’s racial slur — and I sorta understand why

Mar 13, 2014, 9:49 AM EDT

Dan Warthen

I usually have super strong and certain opinions about things. Especially when they concern the media. But this situation has me waffling and wondering all over the place, and I feel like just talking through it. Cool? Cool.

Yesterday a story by Stu Woo of the Wall Street Journal was published in which he described Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen using a racial slur in the Mets’ clubhouse. Last night the Mets and Warthan issued statements apologizing. End of story?

I didn’t think it would be at the time. Mostly because I assumed that there would be some blowback at Woo for writing the story to begin with. Blowback from either reporters or the Mets about Woo repeating or describing things which took place in the clubhouse and perhaps some quibbling about what is and what is not off the record. The first instance of it came a few minutes ago:

We are definitely in an interesting, gray and/or fine line area with all of this. I can see both sides of it.

On the one hand, the clubhouse was open to reporters at the time. It’s not open that much. An hour or so in the morning and then for a while after game time. Players and coaches have several hours in the morning  when the clubhouse is, most definitely, their castle and sanctuary. And heck, even when it is open to the press, there are several places players can and often do go to avoid the media. Workout rooms, lounges, breakfast/lunch areas, trainer’s rooms, offices and the like, all marked clearly with “no media beyond this point” signs. While they may say the media is intruding on their space and privacy, it’s a very small intrusion for a very short amount of time for a reason their team and most players and coaches are perfectly fine with.

On the other hand: even if one spends as little time in a clubhouse as I do, the vibe and, dare I say it, unwritten rules of the place become almost immediately apparent. As a reporter you’re a guest there and you just get a feeling that some stuff is fair game and some isn’t. I’ve heard players tell the most crude jokes ever. Make comments about the news or whatever is on the clubhouse TV that one does not say in polite company. Look at videos on their iPads that make it very clear there are no filters on the team’s internet connection.  Stuff that, if it was on the record in a newspaper, would turn these players and coaches into public enemy number one. My personal feeling about that is that most of that stuff is not really newsworthy in and of itself; and it feels wrong to put it out there for it’s own sake without some sort of compelling reason.

Certainly not just to put the player or coach in a bad light. I mean, last week I talked about a poster in Clint Hurdle’s office and the particular arrangement Brad Ausmus’ office supplies. Those things, I felt, provided some flavor and insight into these guys’ character. And, unless I’ve greatly miscalculated, are not things that would make any reasonable person think poorly of those two. Quite the opposite, actually. Not that I care so much about what people think of them. I mean, it’s not my job to protect their images. It’s just that making a positive or neutral observation about someone from a subjective position feels OK to me. If you’re wrong about what you observed, well, no harm, you made them look better, actually. If you’re going to pass along subjective observations of potential negative things, however, it’s way more important to make sure you’ve gotten all sides and all of the context and everything because you don’t want to misrepresent anyone.

And of course, trumping all of those concerns is newsworthiness. When AP reporter Steve Wilstein reported about PEDs sitting in Mark McGwire’s locker as he assaulted Roger Maris’ home run record in 1998, well, that was newsworthy. It was newsworthy because of McGwire’s comments about it, the way in which power hitting and pumped-up sluggers had taken over the game, and everything else that surrounded Big Mac and baseball at the time. Wilstein got a TON of blowback from players, coaches and other reporters about what he reported from inside the Cardinals’ clubhouse (and what he probably would have Tweeted from there had Twitter been around back then), but balancing his legitimate presence in the clubhouse at the time, his lack of violation of any clubhouse rules (he didn’t take a photo of it, as photos are strictly prohibited) and the newsworthiness of the subject, he was in the right.

Which brings us back to Warthen and Woo. Warthen was in a place where the media was properly present and either knew or didn’t take the time to figure out if he was around reporters. And what he said — his use of a racial slur and reference to previous use of it — was more notable in that particular context than it would be if I overheard some players telling dirty jokes. Woo and the translator to whom he was speaking are both Asian and the interaction at least suggests that maybe Warthen isn’t racially sensitive around team employees or media members of other races. Could be newsworthy, may not be. Hard to say. It’s at least worth thinking about.

But I also can’t help but think that this snapshot of Warthen is something I wouldn’t have reported. Or reported in this particular way. I’m not saying Woo was wrong to report it. I can’t put myself in his shoes here, both because I wasn’t there and because the slur Warthen uttered is not something I’ve ever had to live with or hear directed at me. I’m just saying that, were I in his shoes, I wouldn’t have. I feel like if you asked 50 different reporters you’d get tons of different approaches here.

The general point here is that I can see why Woo reported what he reported. But I can also see why Niese is bristling. It’s a fascinating situation in that it speaks to just how weird and oftentimes uncertain player-media interaction really is. The uneasy relationship between the covered and those who cover them. It also gets to the heart of a subject I wonder about often: why do we care about these players beyond what they do on the field and why do we cover them the way in which we cover them? I have some strong opinions about this in certain narrow areas — I think most player on-the-record-quotes are less-than illuminating — and I have nothing but uncertainty about others — I love to know what makes these guys tick, but have no confidence that anyone can really know, no matter how good a reporter they are.

Anyway, food for thought. And debate.

  1. historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    Is that a “Say Anything” pic attached to a tweet about not saying something?

  2. stex52 - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Perhaps I am just not that sensitive, being an old white male. If someone is persistently offensive, racist, sexist, etc.; then I think it is reasonably newsworthy. If someone makes an occasional unthinking remark or joke that goes in the wrong direction? Well, oops. I wish I could claim it had never happened to me.

    • asimonetti88 - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:43 AM

      I don’t think we have enough backstory. If this were something like what happened with the Miami Dolphins, with persistent racial remarks to team employees, then yes, it should be reported and dealt with. If this were a one-time thing, well it’s incredibly stupid of Warthen, but maybe he doesn’t deserve to be publicly shamed. I don’t know. There just isn’t enough information on it.

    • thedoubleentandres - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:29 AM

      Yea, I mean I think we’re lookin at racial horseplay here rather than full blown racism

  3. yahmule - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    I feel like a retrograde jerk for thinking Stu Woo is kind of a humorous sounding name.

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:49 AM

      Way to hard on yourself Mule. Words that rhyme are funny. They will always be funny.
      It has nothing do with being retrograde or a jerk. It’s just funny.

    • stex52 - Mar 13, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      No problem, Yah. Your thoughts are your own. For now. At least until the next version of Google Glass comes out.

  4. thebadguyswon - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    Niese has a good point. I could understand a reporter writing something if he overheard a player talking about something team-related that no one else knew. But ridiculous statement’s like Warthen’s – while ignorant – were almost more about the reporter getting his name attached to a controversial story than anything else.

    Similar, on a much smaller scale, to Jeff Pearlman with John Rocker.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:55 AM

      I disagree. The reporter overheard someone in authority there saying something that seemed inappropriate to him. He did not then turn on the guy and get accusatory. He asked for a meeting and let them know what he wanted to ask about up front. At first — knowing full well what it was about — a Mets rep agreed to the meeting (with Warthen to be in attendance); however, instead of following through with that and having the opportunity to clarify things — they backed out. Instead, Warthen and the team rep issued apologies, and now people are sulking about the reporter sharing the matter? They absolutely had the chance to address this with him and they failed. Now they are going to pout about how it should’ve been off limits? No, it is never off-limits to ask about potentially discriminatory statements in a workplace environment. The reporter also noted that he’s been in various other locker rooms and never heard this before, which is why it surprised him. It’s obnoxious to ask the reporter to just take that. I would not have been so nice about it if I was the reporter.

      • gloccamorra - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:05 AM

        Well, consider that the reporter is Asian and had an interpreter who is also Asian. Craig didn’t touch on it except to note the reporter wasn’t some old reporter from the NY Daily News, but likely a *gasp* foreigner. That brings in the possibility of 1. a mistranslation and 2. a cultural element that could have led the reporter astray. Asimonetti88 had the right idea: we don’t know the backstory, and it’s even possible neither did the reporter or his translator.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 14, 2014 at 10:46 AM

        Um, the reporter is Chinese-American. He is not a foreigner (he specifically says in the article that he grew up in San Francisco) and the story ran in the Wall Street Journal — not the Daily News. Woo (the reporter) was there to interview Matsuzaka, a Japanese pitcher on the team. The interpreter was for the pitcher — not the reporter. How would it even make sense for the pitching coach to have spoken to the translator the day before if he was there for the reporter? You should not guess if you haven’t read the story. Don’t just make crap up. There are actual facts here.

  5. mikhelb - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    Great column, Craig.

    Good morning to everybody.

  6. NatsLady - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    I also thought it was overblown. Woo himself said basically he was on a crusade to stamp out (overt) racism and he couldn’t let it pass.

    But what he overheard was an apology from one guy to another for chrissakes. So, Warthen woke up to the inappropriateness of his joke or someone woke him up to it, and so good for them. A better angle on the story (if reported at all) would have been that locker rooms are waking up to what is and is not acceptable, even in jokes.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      That’s the thing: he wasn’t sure if the apology was because Warthen knew he shouldn’t say racial slurs or if it was because he called him by the wrong nationality. The reporter asked for a meeting to clarify — because there’s a big difference there. The Mets folks backed out of the meeting. You can’t pout then. Warthen just didn’t want to take his lumps.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:12 AM

      Woo himself said basically he was on a crusade to stamp out (overt) racism and he couldn’t let it pass.

      No, he said he couldn’t let a racist comment stand, and as historio mentions above, he sought out the team for clarification. He wasn’t on a crusade at all.

    • tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 13, 2014 at 12:15 PM

      I agree that it was overblown. First of all, Warthen was apologizing and the reporter has no idea what the joke was in the first place. Second of all, the interpreter said he wasn’t offended. That, to me, implies that the 2 men may have a relationship that allows for those types of jokes to be told – within reason. If Warthen then felt like he may have crossed the line and chose to apologize, why should we then publicly shame him? He already apologized. The joke he told is irrelevent. If it was a joke Woo found funny, would he have let the story die? I doubt it.

      Had Warthen not apologized, nobody would know about the joke at all. So are we teaching people that you get punished for apologizing now? Because if that’s the case, everyone needs to accept the things that took place behind closed doors in the Dolphins’ locker room and stop complaining about the Redskins’ and Indians’ names/mascots. After all, we’re setting the precedent that apologizing isn’t good enough, so why should we expect anyone to ever do it again? Warthen and the team didn’t owe anyone else an apology. After all, nobody even knows what they’re really apologizing for and nobody should. It was an issue (or non-issue if you believe the interpreter) between 2 grown men. Warthen wasn’t out on the field angrily yelling slurs at an ump or opposing player. He wasn’t tweeting anything offensive. He told a joke, thought he might have offended someone, and apoligized. That bastard!

  7. indaburg - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    This is good food for thought.

    As a member of another minority, had I been writing this story and the slur had been a Latino one, the angle I would have put on it would have been more positive. Years ago, there would have been no apology. Warthen was initiating the apology to the person, not the media. I would have given him credit for that.

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      On point Inda. Warthen was apologizing. Trying to make amends. The reporter overhead this and ran with it. Had Warthen NOT apologized…we wouldn’t be discussing this. And that is where I have a problem with it. Dude was trying to do the right thing. Yet…gets his balls busted for it.

    • NatsLady - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      Yes, you said what I was trying to say, only better.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2014 at 12:33 PM

        So, if you had been standing there and Warthen walked up and said: “Hey, man, I’m sorry I called you a p-word yesterday. I know you’re not a female” you would not have reacted? You wouldn’t have seen that as offensive? I sure would’ve and I probably wouldn’t have been nice about it.

        PS. If this was a sly way to let the management know they had a problem, it was superbly executed. There’s no way they could sweep it under the rug this way. I guarantee Warthen won’t use that word in the locker room anymore.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 13, 2014 at 1:35 PM

        historiophiliac, to me Warthen’s apology was at least partly because some people would be offended if you refer to them as the wrong nationality in a “they all look the same to me” kind of way. So he was apologizing for possibly offending him with the offensive word and for implying that all Asians look the same, hence the part where he said he didn’t mean to imply that he’s Chinese. I’m not sure what’s offensive about his apology, honestly. He told the man he was sorry, nobody involved was offended, and none of it is any of our business in the first place.

        Whatever point Woo thinks he’s making with his article is lost on me. Is it, “Don’t apologize for things that happened in a private setting because someone might overhear you and tell the world?” Or is it that we should all be perfect and never do anything that we might feel the need to apologize for later? Because in that case, nobody should do anything ever because the world has become a place where nothing is 100% sure to not offend someone else. I don’t buy that he was trying to let the Mets know about a “problem” in their clubhouse. After all, the “problem” was the one who appears to have taken it upon himself to apologize to someone who, it turns out, was never offended in the first place. Woo himself confirmed that there was no offense taken at whatever was said and that’s where he should have left it instead of pushing to find out what was said so he could get a better story.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        Yes, someone involved was offended. Woo was offended. Because he’s Chinese American — and Warthen walked up and admitted to using a racial slur about Chinese people in front of him. Also, it wasn’t clear at all whether Warthen realized he should not use that word or if he was apologizing for using it on the wrong person — which is why Woo asked for clarification. I don’t know how, in this day and age, someone doesn’t know not to use that word, but your attempt to minimize the issue with that “nothing is 100% sure not to offend someone else” crap is just that. Just because people make make mistakes doesn’t mean you should not do things that are wrong. My momma told me that aaaaaaalllll the time. You’ll notice that what didn’t happen here is that Warthen apologize face-to-face to Woo. Instead, they worried about the PR and blew him off. That is the opposite of taking responsibility for your mistakes.

        FYI, you are arguing that this is too nuanced for you to understand — which is the worst criticism or justification for dropping something ever.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 13, 2014 at 3:26 PM

        I’m not immunizing anything. Warthen apologized for using the word AND for implying that Cutler was Chinese. It seemed obvious to me when I read the quote. Why does it have to be either/or? What I’m saying is that if an apology is now grounds for outrage, then people are going to stop apologizing when they offend people because feeling guilty sucks but being called a racist in a national paper can ruin a career. If the problem is that Warthen made a mistake and then apologized for it, then we’re asking everyone to be perfect. In 99% of situations, whatever the joke was would probably be unacceptable to anyone who isn’t a hate-filled racist. However, among people who consider each other friends, sometimes those jokes are okay as long as everyone involved is part of the group and knows it’s a joke with no malice behind it. Obviously, Warthen worried at some point that he crossed a line and felt the need to apolgize for it. What else should he do? Cry for some cameras or do a little song and dance number on the field before the next game? What comes after an apology when an apology doesn’t satisfy someone who doesn’t know what happened?

        Woo asked what the joke was as if it mattered. He had a chance to ask Warthen about it when it happened but he chose not to. Did he really expect the guy to show up for an interview where the topic was basically, “So, on a scale of 1 to 10, how racist are you? With 1 being very racist and 10 being a Klan member.”

        I don’t recall saying that the situation is too nuanced for me to understand. Far from it, actually. I’ve had plenty of friends of different backgrounds who could joke with me and I could joke with them. If that’s how Warthen and Cutler are together then that’s between them and no reporter should be trying to “expose” anyone as a bigot when the alleged bigot already admitted he made a mistake. A mistake of this nature made in private and apologized for should not be turned into a witch hunt. What lesson are we “teaching” Warthen here? He seems to already know he was wrong. The article is a self-serving attempt to get some attention and some “poor me” sympathy.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2014 at 4:17 PM

        I guess that you just don’t get that there were two people for him to apologize to, and very clearly, Woo and Warthen do not have that kind of rapport. You are assuming all kinds of negative motives and future actions on Woo’s part without any evidence. And your suggestion that we should somehow applaud bigots for learning not to be bigots (which isn’t even clear here) is ridiculous. If I say something dumb and learn not to say it again, great — but I don’t expect to not get crap for having said it before, especially not if in my apology I drop it in front of someone in the group I am insulting.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 13, 2014 at 4:59 PM

        I don’t think he owes Woo an apology. He didn’t direct anything offensive at Woo, he was simply apologizing for what he said the day before. Yes, he used the word in his apology but only to specify why he was sorry. A vague apology isn’t much of an apology and it’s possible (likely, really) that Cutler wouldn’t have known what he was talking about if he’d just said, “I’m sorry for what happened yesterday.” If Woo was unhappy with it then he should have said so when it happened rather than requesting an interview so he could write an article that couldn’t possibly be written in a way that made Warthen look like anything but a jerk. If he wanted to alert the Mets to a “problem” he should have done so without attempting to smear Warthen’s name in an article. If the problem was simply the use of the word (even when it was only to specify why he was sorry) then why did he want to know what the joke was that he told the previous day? It seems that no matter what the joke was it would be offensive to Woo so why does it matter? In my opinion, it’s a clue that Woo was looking for more ammunition so he could hammer Warthen even harder. It was a private matter and was handled to the satisfaction of the 2 men involved. It was none of Woo’s business and just because he ovverheard the apology doesn’t mean he has a right to demand more information.

        Also, I’m not saying “applaud bigots for learning not to be bigots.” You say it’s not clear that Warthen has learned not to be a bigot, but I don’t think it’s clear that he ever was one to begin with. Also, don’t you WANT bigots to learn the error of their ways and correct themselves? Isn’t that the goal of every anti-bias campaign? To change behavior and views? Why give him crap about it? Is he going to re-learn what he already knows? Is he going to be extra-not-racist now? It might make some people feel better about themselves, but it’s a bit like bombing an army that surrendered before your troops even got to the battlefield.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2014 at 5:56 PM

        I guess I shouldn’t expect someone who’s screen name is about harming women to be reasonable. FYI, it is illegal to create a hostile work environment with racial slurs and jokes in the US. The protection against this discrimination extends to clients and non-employees at your site as well. It’s probably a safe bet that the reason the meeting was canceled was because legal found out about it and freaked out.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Mar 13, 2014 at 9:50 PM

        Actually, my screen name is a reference to a radio bit making fun of Mike Tyson’s habit of making absurd violent statements back when he was nuts, but thanks for making assumptions about me in an effort to build your own case. So far you’ve implied that I’m stupid, unreasonable, and enjoy violence against women. None of that’s true, by the way. And doing so doesn’t make your case any more credible.

        I know HR law very well and have had to enforce it on many occasions, including situations where people made racial remarks. I also know that what Warthen did would not qualify for a lawsuit since it was 1 incident and the other employee was not offended. If he continued making offensive remarks and disregarded requests to stop then he’d have a problem on his hands. The Mets wouldn’t be worried about a lawsuit because Woo was the one who requested the explanation of the joke so he has no legal basis to sue for being told information he requested. Again, there has to be a pattern of behavior to sue. If the lawyers had their way, he’d probably have shown up as planned, apologized, and let that be the end of it.

        But I’d like to know what good can come from beating this guy up over this? I just don’t get it.

  8. rcali - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    Simply put, Woo broke locker room protocol. Good luck to him getting access in the future. There are times to speak up and times to shut your mouth. Business 101 in the real world.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      Yeah, they are gonna cut out the Wall Street Journal. Keep dreaming.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 13, 2014 at 2:25 PM

      Except it’s not at all 100% clear that he broke “locker room protocol.” That’s the point of this. It’s a fine line and there are many gray areas when it comes to reporting things which take place inside the clubhouse.

      Niese may not like it. But players would have no reporters in the clubhouse at all if they could make it happen.

  9. spg3081 - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    Let’s make the first comment a positive one, for a change. Very insightful piece Craig. It is strange, how we very publicly muse about what makes players and coaches tick. How we take certain things they say & do in their work place and use them to create our opinions of them. In our workplaces or around our friends we often say and do things that we wouldn’t say or do publicly, lest we create a negative perception of us in the eyes of others. The scrutiny of the public eye can build people up and just as quickly break them down. Athletes go through this in the same way that actors do, in the same way that politicians do. To me, the difference is politicians craft the policies and laws that governs our lives. Athletes and actors are nothing more than highly paid entertainers. If we considered more of what athletes and actors do as private domain, we’d enjoy them more due to the blissful ignorance of the crude and lewd or even insensitive things they say and think. Things that 98% of us are guilty of saying and thinking at times. Maybe it really isn’t fair to place the equivalent of our jesters on that high of a pedestal, subject to our indignant moral outrage which somehow, for many of us, justifies out feeling that we aren’t the kind of people who say and think these things. Even when, in private, we absolutely do – but it’s in private as to avoid that being the public perception of us.

    I’m not speaking of just bigoted sayings and thoughts here. I’m also speaking of the lewd and the crude and the sexual and everything else that isn’t proper or maybe even morally reprehensible. None of it makes us bad people. I’d say it doesn’t make our athletes and entertainers bad people either. If we can stand down from our soapboxes then we should consider more of what they do as private domain. And please, don’t use the argument that they’re setting a bad example for kids as a blanket argument to refute all that I’ve said. Parents, along with teachers and others, should have more than enough sway to ensure that a kid doesn’t suddenly think being crude is okay after hearing about their favorite athletes making sexually charged comments to their friends. Personally, I’m tired of people screaming about others needing to be these grand role models for their children. My folks did a tremendous job being my role models and helping me learn what’s right, what’s wrong, and what I should only say in private lest my neighbors think I’m a heathen. Let’s back off those we call “public figures.” Aside from our government leaders, those that we call public figures would never matter if we stopped paying attention. So let’s give them a little space, shall we?

    • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2014 at 12:43 PM

      Yeah because he used a slur about Chinese people in front of someone of Chinese descent — but it was totally in private, so cool? WTF, he dropped the racial slur in front of some from that racial group. There’s no way the insulted person is obliged to let the person who insulted him skate on that — I don’t care where it happened. How dare he not be more positive about that? Are you kidding? It has nothing to do with public v. private.

  10. chip56 - Mar 13, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    Three thoughts:

    1. Nice piece by Craig

    2. The racial slur itself becomes newsworthy because of the timing of it. The Michael Sam, Jason Collins, Jonathan Martin stories have put “clubhouse culture” on the front page, as has the NFL’s investigation into penalizing players who use the N-Word. Under normal circumstances I would agree that it was a low bit of reporting, but given the other issues it does have more relevance.

    3. Where does the line get drawn? If Buster Olney is in a clubhouse and hears two players discussing ways to beat a steroid test, is that news? My general thinking is that reporters are there to report what they see and what they hear. If the players don’t want certain aspects of their lives or personality made public then they should act accordingly when the clubhouse is open to the media. It’s the crappy side that comes with the fame and fortune of being a professional athlete in our society. My guess is that none of them would trade the money or fame for the right to be as big a jackass as they want while living in anonymity.

  11. Old Gator - Mar 13, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    I can understand Craig’s ambivalence, given that Warthen’s comment wasn’t the sort of thing that Craig “had to live with,” as he put it. I mean, what would anyone have to belittle Craig about, anyway?

    Uh…just wondering, is bald a race?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 13, 2014 at 2:25 PM

      Lifestyle choice.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2014 at 2:32 PM

        Born that way.

      • chip56 - Mar 14, 2014 at 9:16 AM

        You’re not losing your hair – you’re getting more head.

    • stex52 - Mar 13, 2014 at 2:49 PM

      Genetic curse. So maybe it is kind of racial.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2014 at 4:18 PM

        Sexist maybe — except ladies go bald too and that’s the worst!

  12. phillysports1 - Mar 13, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    Mets remember the 2007 season ? Lol

  13. yahmule - Mar 13, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    The treasured “what you see here, what you say here, when you leave here, let it stay here” sign has been taken down.

  14. kindasporty - Mar 13, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    I don’t know, I mean being a white male, I just can’t get worked up over it. But for the same reason, I don’t think I could really blame someone else who does. I think if I was in that situation, it would just depend if anyone was hurt by it. I know it’s not appropriate, but unless there was someone actually taking real offense to it, then I’d just let it go.

  15. drewsylvania - Mar 13, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    The media love to have us pounce on name-calling, while ignoring a lot of the institutional, systemic racism that goes on every day. You know, the kind that is much more harmful.

    • yahmule - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:02 PM

      So true.

  16. spg3081 - Mar 13, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    I’m not a regular commenter. I do read them all the time, across the various NBC Sports sites. On HBT the same folks show up every day, which is nice. I’m surprised at the lack of thoughtless, closed minded, baiting comments. Lots of well thought out points. I’ve never seen historio so worked up. Historio and Tyson, they’re both making some valid points. I absolutely agree with the writer being offended. He reached out to the team and gave them an opportunity to throw ice water on the matter – when they backed out, I think in this case of a reporter taking something from the locker room public…I don’t know – I started to type that he had every right and he used the platform available to him to right a wrong. He’s completely justified in being offended. Did the coach never apologize man-to-man? Did he have the opportunity to, outside of any team-arranged meetings? Part of me feels like this is something where the next time the reporter was in the locker room, the coach should’ve apologized. That should be the end of it. Too often we see a spark become a blazing wildfire far too fast. If the coach simply made a rare crass comment, maybe don’t public show him in a manner where people will believe he’s a racist. The slur is completely inexcusable. I’m a middle class white male, raised by folks who weren’t in any way racists (in a malicious sense – I’ll explain), and I basically know a lot of white guys who aren’t racist. However, around just other white guys, they’ll make racially insensitive jokes on rare occasion. They aren’t racists, they may be rubes, but they also don’t carry that joke over to how they treat others. People of any race look at other races in the store or on TV and sometimes make conclusions based on stereotypes or make comments about their behavior fitting their race (I work with a black guy who tells me I’m being really white an awful lot). These days, that kind of behavior or thinking, if heard once in public, has one branded as a racist. There is no malice though, no hatred, no different treatment based on race. That MAY be this coach. Maybe it was a once in a blue moon comment. That said, the reporter should’ve made mention of it to the coach at the time, or just take it to Niese. If the coach apologized, very sincerely, they could’ve shaken hands (“like men,” as they say) and settled things.

    Now if this isn’t the first time or the reporter began to feel unwelcome after hearing the sentiment from other Mets (and the Mets didn’t address it), sure, take action. If the coach flat declined to apologize man-to-man, give him what deserves. I’m sorry if the “work it out like men” idea is outdated and considered to be a Neanderthal tradition. It’s very hard to miss how people – men and women – could settle so many many more problems with much, much, much less fuss if they simply addressed each other directly, at that moment or shortly after (some situations are better left to cool and then be addressed). I haven’t seen any mention of the reporter speaking directly to the pitching coach, absent involving the Mets front office, to tell him what he thought.

    Of course, it’s somewhat disappointing no one from the Mets saw the reporter standing there, in earshot of the coach when he said it, and said “hey coach, come on man, not cool.” If that happened, the coach sheepishly apologizes, the reporter probably blushes and says it’s no big deal, just a joke, and this never sees the light of day. Man-to-man works. However, people are more likely to insert themselves in disagreements or problems nowhere near them that they have no truck in than they are to say something when something happens right in front of them.

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