Former players express displeasure with MLB’s new anti-hazing rule
Update (7:51 PM EST): The Associated Press has some more quotes, including from Mets GM Sandy Alderson and Rockies GM Jeff Bridich.
On Monday, the Associated Press reported that, as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, Major League Baseball has banned “offensive” hazing, referring to the tradition in which veteran baseball players make their rookie teammates dress up like women as a method of -- they claim -- “team bonding.”
We’ve covered the topic here many times before. In short, the practice is misogynistic, transphobic, and homophobic. Breaking down the humor of the ritual illuminates this fact. The point of making a male teammate dress up like a woman and/or wearing a pink backpack is to make him feminine. Femininity, compared to masculinity, is worse in their eyes; weaker. A lot of defenders of the tradition counter with, “It’s just making them different.” But when shown the myriad other ways they can make their teammate “different,” such as dressing up like a superhero, they reveal how singularly focused they are on humiliating rookies in this very specific way.
Unsurprisingly, some retired players are expressing their displeasure over the new anti-hazing rule.
There were a couple players who were happy about the new rule. Nationals pitcher Shawn Kelley:
Kelley on new hazing policy in CBA: "It's something that is taken seriously in our society & as athletes we have to set the bar by example"— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) December 13, 2016
And former slugger Carlos Pena:
Last month, multiple prospects in the Rangers’ minor league system were accused of sexually assaulting a teammate in a hazing incident. That incident has ties to the dress-up style of hazing done in the majors. The point of assaulting their teammate in the way that they did was to emasculate him. Even if the dress-up shenanigans were as innocent as its supporters claim -- and it isn’t -- ending that will also help to stem more serious styles of hazing down the road by eroding the culture.