The Punishment Doesn’t Fit The Crime
Following a vicious brawl between the Red Sox’s David Ortiz and the Orioles’ Kevin Gregg, Major League Baseball has punished both with a four-game suspension and a fine of an undisclosed amount. However, many initial media reports speculate the amount is around $2,500.
This situation once again exemplifies the severe lack of respect players have for the game, and their repeated unwillingness to adhere to good principles and set positive examples. Major League Baseball needs to step up and make the difference.
Following the game on July 8, Ortiz told reporters that Gregg was screaming things after Ortiz popped out. “I ain’t gonna take that like a little b—-, you know what I’m saying?” Ortiz said. “Everybody’s a grown man here, and you gotta be aware of the situation.” Ortiz later said that this was his first fight “since kindergarden.”
First off, I have no idea what Ortiz means by “you gotta be aware of the situation.” Since when does being aware mean you should engage in an all-out fist fight? And if you really are a “grown man,” Mr. Ortiz, why are you resorting to behavior you haven’t engaged in since kindergarden?
A fine of $2,500 is ridiculous in a few regards. A fine is meant to make an impression, it’s not a parking ticket with a fixed rate. Thus, fines should be given out as a percentage of salary. That way, it will have an equal effect on each player.
Gregg makes $4.2 million this season. Ortiz makes three times that amount. Giving them the same fine has complete lop-sided qualities for two players who deserve equal punishment.
Moreover, if Ortiz’s comments after the game have any value, it’s the realization that this punishment really isn’t having much of an effect on Ortiz anyway.
The fine Oritiz received, if it is in fact $2,500, is just .02% of his salary. Give me a break. If Major League Baseball thinks .02% can suppress Ortiz’s maniacal behavior, they are kidding themselves. Acts like this should incur at least a 5% fine. It’s far more likely Ortiz would hold back if he was fined $625,000.
There’s one more aspect that is rather severe but makes plenty of sense. Suppose this had happened on the street. Suppose Gregg screamed at Ortiz on the street and both engaged in a fist fight. Both would be sitting in jail right now.
Why aren’t players on the field held to the same legal standards as regular citizens? Fighting is illegal, and it should be on the baseball field as well.
However Major League Baseball wants to address this is fine. But it needs to be addressed somehow. We can’t allow players to exhibit no respect and no restraint on the field. Our society hands athletes a lot of value, and our children look up to these players as role models. Our culture and our principles would be much better served if these adults did, in fact, act like adults.