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The Braves hazed their rookies after losing 4-0 to the Padres

San Diego Padres v Atlanta Braves

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 15: Fredi Gonzalez #33 of the Atlanta Braves in the dugout against the San Diego Padres during the fourth inning at Turner Field on September 15, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Padres won 4-0. (Photo by Kevin Liles/Getty Images)

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Padres starter Burch Smith proved to be too much for the Braves’ offense this afternoon as the right-hander shut them out over seven innings, logging ten strikeouts. Behind Chase Headley’s two-run home run in the sixth and Tommy Medica’s solo shot in the seventh, the Padres had more than enough offense to topple the NL East-leading Braves.

After the game, the Braves had their rookies dress up in a “tennis theme” as Kevin Faigle of WRDW Augusta described on Facebook.

Kevin McAlpin posted this photo:

Rookies!! #Braves

— Kevin McAlpin (@KevinMcAlpin) September 15, 2013

I know the Braves were just doing this to innocently have fun, but these rookie hazing antics need to stop. They are often homophobic, transphobic, and misogynistic in nature. In the photo above, the Braves are embarrassing their rookies by making them dress up in women’s clothing. Other forms of hazing involve rookies donning pink backpacks, ones that a six-year-old girl would wear to school.

There’s a way to have fun innocently, and then there’s having fun at the expense of an often-discriminated-against group of people, reinforcing to others that such behavior is acceptable. This looks even worse considering Major League Baseball has been a part of the “It Gets Better” campaign.

We’ve had plenty of incidents at colleges in recent years where students have been hazed, some even killed. Rookie hazing isn’t harmless when it’s seen by millions of people.

I forget who said it, and I’m just paraphrasing, but when it comes to humor, your jokes should always be aiming up at somebody -- or at least moving laterally -- rather than striking down at disadvantaged people from a position of power.

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