By Tim Baffoe–
(CBS) (Applies equal pressure two both temples with middle fingers, takes deep breath.)READ MORE: Man Arrested In Countless Social Media Threats Directed At CPS Schools, Days After Shootings Kill 2 Simeon Career Academy Students
This shouldn’t be difficult, men. But hey, what would dudes and bros be if not decrying the erosion of witless micro-advantages of dudes and bros?
Major League Baseball has banned teams and players from using dressing as women or girls as a form of hazing. The new policy disallows “requiring, coercing or encouraging” players from “dressing up as women or wearing costumes that may be offensive to individuals based on their race, sex, nationality, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or other characteristic.”
Look at how extremely decent that is. It’s a no-brainer in the 21st century. There’s nothing logical to complain about regarding this.
So, of course, there are people complaining. Men are aggrieved. Oh heavens.
First, a quick review of basic rookie dress-up hazing. Good, harmless, fun kind of embarrassing:
Bad, problematic, useless kind of embarrassing:
Now, the Mets went full terrible with what they did. Not only was it the “dressing as women for degradation is hilarious” kind of dumb, but it mocked iconic historical women baseball figures and had them fetching coffee. It was only a year prior the Mets got it right with rookie dress-up day.
Los Angeles Angels closer Huston Street wrote a slippery-slope piece Tuesday about dressing like women as team-building something something blah blah blah. Without a whiff of irony, he claimed that, “I am arguing for a certain sense of logic, historical truth and tolerance.” (Spoiler: He achieved none of those in the piece.)
Former player Kevin Youkilis has since deleted from Twitter his outrage that included: “Seriously?! Had to wear a Hooters outfit going through customs in Toronto and wore it proudly bc I was in the Show.” Another former player, Vernon Wells, then e-bro high-fived him:
Other current and former players also took their camo shirts off and typed online over this clear travesty to male fragility. And, hey, they’re large adult sons who have lived most of their lives in dense, privileged sociopathic bubbles, so it’s hard to be surprised. Still, illogic like this can’t be left alone because that’s how we got to what shouldn’t be such a difficult crossroads in the first place.
Accommodating the sensitivities of marginalized groups isn’t wussifying America. It’s very spirit-of-the-law of every major religion subscribed to. It’s listening to fellow humans pointing out how this works against their very existence. It’s basic damn decency.
Let’s be clear about what the joke is in these rookie hazing stunts. It’s players telling a significant portion of the MLB fan base this: “The most degrading thing we can do to a player is have him pretend to be like you.”
So it’s the opposite of what Aubrey Huff thinks, which involves no actual intelligent reasoning.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Warm Winds Friday
How rediculous! The world has gotten 2 damn sensitive! This has been a time honored tradition. The world is full of sensitive snowflakes https://t.co/Zhadz1MXBf
How rediculous! The world has gotten 2 damn sensitive! This has been a time honored tradition. The world is full of sensitive snowflakes https://t.co/Zhadz1MXBf— AUBREY HUFF (@aubrey_huff) December 13, 2016
But it’s also non-excluding. One-third or more of an MLB team’s fans are female. There’s a network TV drama centered around a female MLB player. Beyond decency, for what business reason would you willfully walk into the pane glass window of potentially turning off that many baseball customers?
“To me it’s important to be cognizant of the images that our players project to our fans,” said Billy Bean, a former big leaguer and MLB’s vice president for social responsibility and inclusion. “And I think where for many where it would seem that it’s common sense that it’s just all in good fun and being silly, there are many sides to the story and I just think that it’s a responsible thing to do. Many players didn’t like this tradition but were afraid to speak up.”
Baseball is struggling to attract younger fans, some of whom are — believe it or not — girls. Having players whom you want female fans to gravitate toward showing them that their gender and femininity is inferior, if not invalid, probably doesn’t pull those fans toward the game.
And with MLB’s issues of dealing with players accused of domestic violence, advertising being female as a caricature and therefore a second-class baseball citizen works against any argument the league might want to make about not being misogynist. Justify a woman purchasing a male player’s jersey if the league sends the message that being a girl is a less-than.
What’s minor to you speaks volumes to marginalized groups you’re not part of and is a pretty basic example of privilege you likely deny benefiting from.
Ditto dismissing this because — gasp — people around the world are dying from various diseases, natural disasters and violence.
We can fight terribleness in the form of being dismissive of a group’s sports humanity and on a global violence scale. I promise you this is possible, as it’s possible to shovel the snow on your walk while not yet solving the issue of a leaky faucet in your home. And we can recognize that there are multiple oppressed groups that sports does dirty without pitting one against the other and then accomplishing nothing.
How about Washington football changes their name from a racial slur, then we move onto this.
How about Washington football changes their name from a racial slur, then we move onto this.— Willie Jackson (@BillJackson84) December 13, 2016
To any decent person, the minor demand of professionals in the public eye not taking an entire minority group and crapping on it for shallow giggles and the misguided belief of “team building” isn’t hard to swallow. To anyone else, you’ve been presented with valid reasons why dressing up like women for the purposes of hazing is bad and dumb, and to still endorse it is being willfully ignorant.
(chews an aspirin)MORE NEWS: Hate-Filled Letters Falsely Claiming To Be From A Judge Sent To Minority-Owned North Suburban Restaurants
Tim Baffoe is a columnist for CBSChicago.com. Follow Tim on Twitter @TimBaffoe. The views expressed on this page are those of the author, not CBS Local Chicago or our affiliated television and radio stations.