I found a link to an article on this topic on www.slam.canoe.ca which is a Canadian sports site with a wide range of stuff. According to this link, a woman in New Jersey has filed suit against a 13-year old boy who – - as an 11-year old Little League baseball player – - hit her in the face with a ball that he threw while he was warming up a pitcher in the bullpen. The woman seeks $150,000 in damages for her medical costs plus “an undetermined amount for pain and suffering.” As is to be expected, the lawyer for the kid’s family characterized the lawsuit as “frivolous”; then he went a step further and called the lawsuit “disgusting”.
The article here represents the reporter’s interviews with the kid’s family and lawyer so the plaintiff’s side to this story remains in the dark for the moment. Nevertheless, I think there are two conclusions that one might draw even with this partial information:
Whatever harmful circumstances this woman has had to endure for the past two years must be dire indeed if her position is to gain even a bit of traction in the court of public opinion.
If this 13-year old boy loses this lawsuit, he is going to need to shovel a whole lot of sidewalks and driveways to pay off $150K.
Since I started off with an item related to the US judicial system here, it seems appropriate to go next to the Roger Clemens’ acquittal. Let me begin by quoting Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel:
“First, Barry Bonds essentially gets off, then Lance Armstrong has charges against him dropped and now Roger Clemens gets a full acquittal after the government spent millions trying to nail him for performance-enhancing drugs. I’m starting to think government attorneys who prosecute athletes are the legal equivalent of the Cubs.”
I do not know that I would characterize the government attorneys as “loveable losers” because I do not find them loveable and they are certainly not on a 104-year drought in terms of convictions. However, if you think Mike Bianchi was harsh in his metaphor, consider what Greg Cote had to say in the Miami Herald:
“Despite a broad public perception of guilt, Roger Clemens was acquitted on all six counts of perjury over steroids accusations. Leaving the courtroom, federal prosecutors tripped over their gigantic floppy shoes and fell flat on their big red clown noses.”
Frankly, I think the most cogent comment on the entire Roger Clemens matter came from Bob Molinaro in his column last weekend in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:
“Idle thought: The federal jury has spoken – Roger Clemens is not guilty of perjury. But he’ll always be guilty of being Roger Clemens.”
Based on all the reporting on the Jerry Sandusky situation, it would appear as if the jury got that decision right. I read that Sandusky’s attorney announced that he would file an appeal involving “timing issues”. I do not understand what sorts of issues involving the time those events transpired would form the basis of an appeal so I will have to wait for more information there.
Switching gears, Maurice Jones-Drew gained over 1600 yards rushing last year for the Jags averaging 4.7 yards per carry. He wants to renegotiate his contract and chose not to attend minicamp; the Jags say they have no plans to renegotiate because MJD has two years left on his current deal. The Jags’ offense last year consisted of Maurice Jones Drew running the ball in between lame attempts by Blaine Gabbert to throw the ball. On one hand, I can understand the Jags’ thinking. They are not going to be very good again this year so why hand out extra money to anyone on the team unless they absolutely have to. On the other hand, if MJD were to sit out a season or just go through the motions because he is demotivated, the Jags would have to spend more money to buy more tarps to cover more seats in the stadium they cannot fill. Interesting situation here…
I have almost become inured to the current art form of the “non-apology apology” from athletes/celebrities/politicians where they apologize for some anti-social behavior or some verbal gaffe by saying that they apologize if “whatever” might have offended someone. Another avenue for such “non-apology apologies” is to characterize the situation as merely a bad decision meaning that it should be easily corrected of avoided in the future. Because this art form is so common, I found David Diehl’s statements about being arrested for DUI refreshing.
Diehl did not read a prepared statement; he did not apologize “if he offended/endangered anyone else”; he did not assert that this was a “family matter” and ask for privacy. Diehl was arrested because he hit some parked cars and the breathalyzer said he was over the legal limit. Diehl stood up and said he did a bad thing (very different from making a bad decision) and he is sorry that he did it. He said he was accountable and fully responsible for what happened.
Good for David Diehl. His apology does not exonerate him in any way with regard to his DUI situation but his apology ought to become a yardstick by which future apologies/statements from athletes are judged.
Finally, a comment from Scott Ostler in the SF Chronicle:
“Tough guy Sergio Romo says the only way you can keep him from pitching is, ‘You’ve got to cart me off the field.’ If that happens, does someone get a bonus from Sean Payton?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………