Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Vexed (and yeah, it's been a LONG time)

I've been dwelling on this issue for several days, and it continues to vex me and bother me, enough so that I've posted my first blog in years? The Colorado Rockies, who have been not only my favorite baseball team since being awarded their franchise in 1991, and who are in fact, the only sports franchise I follow with any level of intensity beyond just keeping up with scores, signed Daniel Murphy, he of a better-than-average stick, decent correlation of making playoff teams, and a history of comments very offensive to the entire LGBTQ community and their allies, comments for which to this day, he has not actually apologized for, or even recognized them as offensive. I've read it said about Murphy, the entire gamut, from "he's just Christian and entitled to his opinion", to "I'm so offended I can never follow the Rockies ever again, they should rot in hell". To be frank, most of the comments I've read are much more along the lines of the former. Here's the thing, I don't care who you are or what your "beliefs" are. Everyone is entitled to form beliefs and opinions of their own. Of course, neither beliefs nor opinions are fact, but I digress. I don't really even care what Daniel Murphy thinks about the LGBTQ community, I have no doubt there are a significant number of MLB players who hold similar views. The difference is, Daniel Murphy said the quiet part out loud, *three years ago*, and while he (and MLB) have tried to sidestep the harm and offensiveness of those words, not once has he actually apologized for saying things patently offensive to the LGBTQ community, a number of members of which I consider very dear to me. So, I very much DO care that the team I follow, intentionally sought out Daniel Murphy to employ for multiple years, for somewhere between $24m-$36m (depending is his option year is picked up). I very much DO care that the team I follow appears to have decided that the price of acceptance of bigotry is $12m/year for 2-3 years, and maybe 2.0 or so Wins Above Replacement. I very much DO care that a lot of the online Rockies fan community would rather have those who are unhappy with the Daniel Murphy signing simply keep their views "in the closet". This isn't the case of a team signing a player who subsequently makes offensive comments. And before anyone says it, yes, I recognize that Murphy's anti-LGBTQ comments are not anywhere in the same ballpark as Jose Reyes' or Addison Russell's or others' incidents of domestic abuse. I'm not going to play false equivalencies here. Further, it took the signing of Murphy for me to learn that the Rockies are one of only five teams throughout MLB to not even hold an official "Pride Day" event. Which, while it is certainly the club's right to determine whether or not they do, that they don't speaks volumes, in the further light of the Murphy signing. But I am vexed, the status quo cannot stand. Murphy's actual comments:
"I disagree with his lifestyle. I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn’t mean I can't still invest in him and get to know him. I don’t think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect. Getting to know him. That, I would say, you can still accept them but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100 percent.”
You might read the above and think "hey, what's so wrong with that statement, it's not like Murphy is calling to stone anyone or hang them at the stake". Now substitute, say, "interracial", or "Jewish", or "Muslim" or even "unwed single mother", what have you, for "homosexual". You still think the same? It's not the place of the non-offended to determine the words aren't offensive, you're not part of the community the words target. So I am vexed, the status quo cannot stand. The club has gone out and sought the services, at considerable cost, of a player who has voiced out loud that he considers the very way of life of people dear to me, as something to be 100% disagreed with. I can't be okay continuing to support the club the same way, with my time and my hard-earned dollars. The Rockies could give two shits about my time and frankly, they could give two shits about the revenue from the tickets to 10-12 games I pay for, along with merch and concessions, each year. It's a drop in the bucket, and I'm not out here calling for a boycott. But people have to make their own value judgments. I cannot value my financial support of my favorite team over the self-respect I lose by supporting a team that actively seeks to hire those who are unapologetic for their disdain for the nature of existence of those I like/love/respect/admire. I like what one individual had to say on the subject at Purple Row, a Rockies blog I used to follow, but left some time ago (and only clicked back to today, to see how that community responded to one individual wrote, upon dealing with the same vexation as I.) That being, I can take the $$$ I used to spend on the Colorado Rockies, and put it towards a number of LGBTQ-supporting causes. As long as Daniel Murphy is a Colorado Rockie, and is willfully blind to the offensive of his comments, I simply cannot support the club in the tangible ways I used to, with my wallet. I'm not going to boo Daniel Murphy, his ignorance does not warrant the attention. I will go to Coors Field when my firm holds its annual picnic, because that event goes on whether or not I choose to take part. I will go the the early season game my darling wife bought us tix for this past month. But I cannot, in good conscience, support the franchise in ways that involve the only language ownership appears to care about, that being the language of money.

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