Monday, July 2, 2007

Silencing Fans

In Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle there was an interesting story about fans wanting to protest Barry Bonds going to Major League Baseball games with signs, t-shirts, and other paraphernalia and being stopped at gate. According to the teams, who are responsible for items taken into the stadium, these items were in poor taste. However, according to the fans, it seems as though MLB is the one sending out an edict to teams, hoping to silence dissent. Here's MLB's response to the SF Chronicle:
"Major League Baseball has issued no edicts regarding Bonds, and each team has discretion regarding signage and fan behavior, said spokesman Pat Courtney. As Bonds has closed in on the record, security officials for Major League Baseball have held conference calls with teams hosting the Giants to discuss potential problems, Courtney said, but the teams deal with cases on an individual basis."
There seem to be no shortage of signs when the message is pro-baseball. The images here aren't exactly offensive (see photo at right from SF Chronicle), unless you're Barry Bonds. (By the way, if you don't know the story about Bonds, check out this article in Sports Illustrated. It's assumed by many that Bonds cheated or currently cheats by taking some form of steroids. He holds the single-season home run record and is on the verge of breaking the career home run record.)

Fans should speak out against MLB for not doing enough to protect the game from cheaters like Bonds. For teams to join in the effort to silence dissent is inexcusable.

MLB is not the only professional sport getting bad press these days. The NFL is under fire for not supporting retired players who are suffering from career-related injuries. (See this story in the LA Times or visit Jerry Kramer's web site for information about the Gridiron Greats program.)

I'm a fan of professional sports, and I've paid for my enjoyment of those properties. If those organizations (who have a monopoly on the product) can't find ways to provide an uncontaminated or fair product with those vast riches that they receive from fans, then I think it's right for fans and their representatives to hold the organizations accountable.

No comments: