Sunday, June 3, 2007

No, Gary Sheffield. You Are Wrong.

Gary Sheffield, one of my favorite players because he is so entertaining to watch play baseball, has an interesting theory on why there has been an increase in Latino players in Major League Baseball and a decline in African American players.

According to Gary, this is because black players are not as easy to "control" as Latino players.

I cannot express completely how much bullshit this is. I'm not black, and I will admit that I do not have a lot of experience with urban culture. However, the way it is commonly presented to me and the way many people, such as Mr. Sheffield, portray it seems to indicate that it is commonly believed that being a real man in the urban community means arbitrarily demanding inherent respect and using this demand for respect as a way of asserting your own will over any given situation.

Respect is earned. It is earned in many ways, but one of those ways is by respecting those in a position of authority. It is earned by being a good teammate, by being selfless and sacrificing, by thinking about the good of others before the good of yourself. Respect does not mean that you can selfishly assert your will over others. It does not mean that you can disregard a just authority. Respect requires self-awareness and humility. It precludes the type of arrogance that the urban culture seems to promote.

No one is owed the type of respect that Gary Sheffield is talking about. If a player on my team feels that he can do whatever he wants and then whine like a two year old when things don't go his way, I'd show him the door faster than you can say "dissed." By not doing this, I would, in fact, be truly disrespecting every hard-working, rule-abiding player on my team.

It's up to someone else more qualified that me to talk about why this attitude seems to have taken over the mindset of all races in today's urban culture. I find it deeply disturbing that such a large segment of people now identifies "respect" with selfishness, arrogance, and a disregard for personal responsibility and humility.

You do not have the right to do whatever you want without consequences. For Mr. Sheffield and other athletes, this means that when your boss gives you an order, you follow it, just like all the rest of us.

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