HomeOpinionOPINION: A casualty of celebration and condemnation on the diamond

OPINION: A casualty of celebration and condemnation on the diamond

By Todd E. Brady

Anthony Bass used to be a pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays until he made a personal belief statement that offended some.  After he apologized for offending others and after much public controversy, Bass was designated for assignment.  In baseball language, “designated for assignment” means being cut from the team.

Was his ERA too high?  No.  Was his pitching sub-par?  No.  Did he have the yips?  No. His dismissal from the team had nothing to do with baseball.  It was because of his beliefs. 

Bass received backlash and eventually a stadium full of boos for reposting a video of someone stating what he believes are biblical reasons to boycott Target and Bud Light for being LGBTQ friendly companies. 

After some didn’t like what Bass had reposted, instead of further communicating his belief, he apologized for his post saying, “I recognize yesterday I made a post that was hurtful to the pride community, which includes friends of mine and close family members of mine. And I’m truly sorry for that. I just spoke with my teammates to share with them my actions yesterday. I apologized with them. And as of right now, I’m using the Blue Jays’ resources to better educate myself to make better decisions moving forward. The ballpark is for everybody. We include all fans at the ballpark. We want to welcome everybody.”

Evidently, those to whom he apologized did not think that the apology was sincere or heartfelt enough.  Helen Kennedy, executive director of Egale Canada, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ rights, said the team’s handling of the incident was confusing and insulting.

Upon hearing of Bass’s release, she said “I’m offended I think, and I think the community is offended…There has to be a consequence. You can’t do what he did and say what he said and just apologize and everything’s going to be OK.  It takes a lifetime of learning to change these views. It’s not a quick fix. And anybody who thinks it is is just fooling themselves.”

Bass is proving Theo Hobbs right.  Hobbs is a British theologian and public intellectual who has talked about a “total moral reversal” in society.  He says that for a moral revolution to take place in a society,

three conditions must be met.  First, what was once condemned must be celebrated.  Second, what was once celebrated must be condemned. And third, those who do not join in the new celebration are themselves condemned.

This “total moral reversal” is happening right before our eyes

Not only did Bass not celebrate pride month, he actually asserted his opinion about companies that he believed were supportive.   He has now been condemned.  Not only has he been condemned.  He has been designated for assignment—a nice way of saying that he has been fired.

Does an organization have a right to hire and fire individuals?  Sure.  And so should an individual have the right to assert his opinion—regardless of what others may think about it.  Bass’s job was to play baseball.  Through his Instagram account, he stated his personal belief that Target and Bud Light should be boycotted because of their LGBTQ support. 

After apologizing and stating that his post was “hurtful to the pride community,” he said “But I stand by my personal beliefs. Everyone is entitled to their personal beliefs, right? Also, I mean no harm towards any groups of people.”

Evelyn Beatrice Hall once summarized Voltaire’s thinking by saying, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

With Bass espousing his beliefs about boycotting Target and Bud Light and the subsequent backlash, Hobb’s conditions for a society’s “total moral reversal” are being played out on the baseball diamond.

Todd E. Brady is vice president for university ministries at Union University. Write to him at 1050 Union University Drive, Jackson TN 38305.

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