John, a Stranger and Slog reader, sent a note to the Ms to protest the teams decision to hire a brainless bigot. Here’s the Ms response:
Thank you for your email regarding the announcement that the Seattle Mariners have signed Carl Everett to a one-year contract. We welcome your comments and appreciate the passion with which you have expressed your opinion.
We believe Carl Everett will be an asset to the Mariners both on and off the field. We are aware of the issues that Carl had in the past, but we believe he has dealt with them and has successfully moved on. We hope fans will give him a chance here in Seattle.
As with every player we sign, Bill Bavasi and his staff have done a thorough job researching Carl. They have talked to numerous people throughout the game of baseball, including Ozzie Guillen, his manager last season. They are confident that Carl’s intensity, enthusiasm and competitive spirit will be a good for our team both on the field and in the clubhouse. As a switch-hitter, he will provide our lineup with versatility and the left-handed run production we need.
In addition, we like that Carl was a big contributor to a World Series Championship team in Chicago last year, when he batted .251 with 23 home runs and 87 RBI. In the post-season, he batted .300.Â
Once again, thank you for taking the time to let us know your thoughts. We are looking forward to the 2006 season. We believe we have a good foundation in place with exciting young players like Felix Hernandez, Yuniesky Betancourt and Jose Lopez, and experienced veterans like Jamie Moyer, Richie Sexson, Adrian Beltre and Raul IbaĂąez. We still have work to do, but our goal is to become a championship caliber team as quickly as possible. We hope you will be there with us for all the excitement of Mariners baseball in 2006 and beyond.
Seattle Mariners Fancare
Okay, it’s hilarious that Everett’s a “switch-hitter.” Who knew? But I’d like to call attention to this line: “We believe Carl Everett will be an asset to the Mariners both on and off the field.” So… it seems that the Ms believe that Everett’s behavior off-the-field is just as relevent as his behavior on the field. Which means, of course, that Everett’s past statements and actions are fair game, deserving of comment, not out of bounds, etc.
So Andrew, commenting in Seattlest, has every right to make these points about Everett:
It would be one thing to hate him because he doesn’t believe in dinosaurs. It would be another to hate him because he is vocally homophobic. Lets not forget that he also headbutted an umpire, grabbed his crotch and spit at jamie moyer after hitting a home run, and abused his children enough so that the state of new york took his daughter away. I might even be able to overlook that if he were a good baseball player, but he isn’t anymore. He obviously in the decline phase of his career. There is no reason for him to be a mariner.
Here’s John’s thoughts about the letter the Ms sent him:
At least I now know the exact batting average that forgives child abuse.Â Granted, my family normally only goes to a handful of M’s games a year (I prefer the laid back, kid friendly Aquasox), but we’ll be going elsewhere this summer.
As for me, I’m going to the Ms games regardless. I don’t think the Ms should necessarily fire Everett. They should have thought twice about hiring him, but now that he’s on the team, well, what can you do? Firing him for being an idiot smacks of the thought police. I do think, however, that folks who find Everett’s idiotic comments offensive have every right to make a noise about itand every right to make damn sure Everett hears some of the noise. To that end perhaps gay Ms fans should wear “Hey, Carl! We Exist!” t-shirts to games this year.
Professional athletes aren’t plaster saintsneither are, ahem, professional advice columnistsand no one expects them to be perfect, have perfect people skills, or be smarter than the average bundle of newspapers. But if, say, a John Rocker or a Carl Everett says something ridiculous and offensive, fans and other folks have a right to express our displeasure and make sure that Everett’s ridiculous opinionsopinions that only got an airing because Everett’s a baseball playerdon’t go unchallenged.