Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mo'Ne Davis Is Right

Well, TigerBlog supposes there's nothing left to say about the women's basketball team. For now at least.

It's supposed to rain today. And tomorrow. Because of all the snow, including some from last week, most fields in this area are completely unplayable, forcing a major scramble by colleges, high schools, Little Leagues - everyone who's trying to play baseball or softball.

Hey, even lacrosse isn't immune. Miss TigerBlog is 0-2 in her first high school lacrosse season - as in two games scheduled, two unable to be played because of field conditions.

The end of the women's basketball season left only the six men's swimmers at the NCAA championships for winter sports at Princeton. Of course, "spring" for TB began on Feb. 14, when Princeton opened its men's lacrosse season.

So what to talk about right now?

Well, TigerBlog was struck by the story about the Bloomsburg baseball player who was kicked off the team after his really, really stupid tweet about Mo'Ne Davis.

If you missed it, a player from Bloomsburg said something very unfortunate about Davis, the girl who stole the show at the Little League World Series last year. TigerBlog isn't going to repeat what he said.

Let's start out by saying that in no way is TigerBlog defending what the baseball player did. It's just that, well, is this really what college is supposed to be about, purging someone for making a mistake?

TB doesn't know the kid at all. He has no idea if he was on double secret probation or had a perfectly clean record.

He does know that Bloomsburg took his name off the roster, from the this year and last. And he knows that the kid is simply gone from the baseball team.

So how did Davis -  who is 13, keep in mind - react? She wrote a really nice email to the Bloomsburg president asking him to give the player another chance.

As far as TB can see, Bloomsburg did not.

So that's it? He's done?

College kids live in a tough world these days. They're old enough to be out on their own, often late at night. They have access at all times to phones, tablets, laptops - whatever is necessary to constantly stay connected.

That's great on a lot of levels. On a few it's not great.

And the way it's the worst is that there is no filter between an 18- to 22-year-old and the ability to say something life-changingly dumb. Athletes. Non-athletes.

When TigerBlog was their age, the message coming from society was to work hard, go to a good college and get ahead, because that's the way to success. What do these young people see? The short cut to fame and fortune, which is to be as outrageous and shameless as possible in as public a forum as possible.

Geez, TB sounds old.

Of course, it makes TB cringe that someone can lose everything with what they say. Why? Because who decides when the line is crossed? Who decides when someone is edgy and cutting edge and then in the next instant toxic.

TigerBlog doesn't think for a minute that the baseball player at Bloomsburg is an awful person who honestly believes what he said about a 13-year-old. He assumes, for that matter, that the two young men who tweeted the atrocious comments about Curt Schilling's daughter are not terrible people.

No, they're people who did something that was really dumb. They did it thinking "what's the big deal, everyone today says stuff like this."

Or, more likely, they said something a little tamer last time, and even tamer the time before that. Each time, they pushed it a little more.

It's one thing to say something at a party. It's another thing to tweet it. That's the problem these days.

As TigerBlog has told a lot of Princeton athletes, to get in trouble you used to have to say something stupid and have someone who can repeat it. Now? Anyone can get in trouble any time they want.

So what is the responsibility for a college and its athletic department in these cases?

That's the big question. TB's advice to all the Princeton athletes he talks to is to make sure they understand that whatever they put out there will be seen by, oh, their coaches, teammates, parents, friends, professors, people on the admissions board at their dream grad school, potential employers. All of that.

Again, though, what is the college to do?

The instinct is to distance itself from the person who is bringing all the heat to the institution. TigerBlog gets that. It's the easy thing to do. The hard thing to do is say "hey, he made a mistake, but he's ours and we're not giving up on him."

But isn't Mo'Ne Davis right? Doesn't he deserve a second chance?

Shouldn't college be about learning and maturing? Think that baseball player at Bloomsburg would ever do something like that again? Think he'd ever take it for granted that he gets to play college baseball?

Instead, he's tarnished forever now.

TigerBlog gets it. He just doesn't like it.

Would Princeton do anything differently? TB doesn't know.

And he hopes to never find out.


Anonymous said...

Not the end of winter sports yet. Don't forget the 6 men's swimmers at the NCAAs in Iowa City.

TigerBlog said...

Apologies to the men's swimmers. TigerBlog thought both championships were last weekend.