Today the Philadelphia Phillies announced, via press release, that they have granted Brett Myers leave from the team until the end of the All-Star break "to concentrate on personal matters associated with his arrest in Boston last week" (Brett Myers was arrested last week for hitting his wife on a street outside of his Boston hotel. I’ve written about it here and here).
Let’s talk about consequences for off-the-field behavior. Last week White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen used a derogatory term for homosexual to describe a Chicago sports writer. Major League Baseball has fined him and ordered him to attend sensitivity training. Guillen’s boss, White Sox Sr. Vice President/General Manager Ken Williams, discussed his frustration with Guillen on ESPN and publicly threatened to fire Guillen if he doesn’t clean up his act (this was not Guillen’s first public, insensitive, obnoxious outburst). Many baseball people thought that Guillen got off easy, that Major League Baseball should have suspended him for at least one game.
On the other hand Brett Myers, who hit his wife in public and was arrested, was neither sanctioned nor reprimanded by either the Phillies or Major League Baseball. Rather, he was given the ball and the starting pitching assignment for a nationally televised game on Saturday against the Boston Red Sox.
Do we really believe that Brett Myers requested this leave, or rather that this too-little-too-late move was laid down by a Phillies management team responding to the thunderous public disapproval of their immoral inaction? Either way, it makes no difference. The Phillies lost their opportunity to do the right thing when they put the ball in Myers’ hand on Saturday afternoon – and with that they lost any shred of dignity they had.