Letter: She’s off her Rocker
As a displaced Los Angeleno, along with my wife, I take considerable enjoyment in our adopted retirement home, including five years as a subscriber to The Record-Courier. As a faithful reader, I enjoyed your time capsule recall (For The Record, Jan. 15) until, that is, you referred to John Rocker as a bigot. It is just a wild guess, but I rather doubt that you ever met the youngster – nor have I – but a black club vice president doesn’t view him as a bigot, nor do the quoted black teammates, nor indeed do those blacks who have lived in his home. That his comments would have been better left unsaid argues of no dispute, but then they are mostly offensive to the sports uninitiated. It is called locker-room humor, spoken by virtually all people involved in team sports. Try to bear in mind that you are talking about people with no greater ambition in life than to play kids’ games. That the adoring public has accorded them status unfit for their contribution socially, and productively, is simply a confirmation of societal acceptance of mediocrity. If you doubt that characterization, just simply look east, toward Washington.
But back to the point of your ill-chosen characterization.
David Cushman Coyle observed: “Democracy needs more free speech, for even the speech of foolish people is valuable if it serves to guarantee the right of the wise to talk.” I have been fortunate in my life that is now in the sunset years, in part, because I was raised as the fourth of five boys, although I frequently thought otherwise during the process. Without elaborating, let me assure you that three older brothers can encourage one to not take something too seriously. Had I taken their oral put-downs too personally, mine would at best have been a tortured childhood.
Well, we all lettered in one or more team sports, and the lessons taught by my brothers served me well in not just the sports environment. I doubt that many could conceive of the vocal intercourse there, nor indeed during 5 years, 9 months and 24 days in the United States Navy. The comments of young Rocker are typical, and acceptable in certain environments, locker rooms for example, and I suspect that he naively didn’t anticipate the public reaction.
That the remarks aired in public were offensive is not in dispute. Similarly offensive is the blatant hypocrisy thrust upon us by the so-called news media, and your name-calling, like his comments, might well have been better left unsaid.
Vernon M. Latshaw