That is Hall of Famer Pete Roseresponded to Alex Coffey of the Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday, after Coffey, rightly so, asked him about allegations that he raped an underage girl in the 1970s.
Back in 2017, Phillies pounding plan to honor the rose after a woman came forward and alleges that Pete Rose began “having sex” with her in 1973 when she was 14 or 15 years old and he was 34. The charges are part of testimony in a defamation lawsuit Rose brought against former federal prosecutor John Dowd, who claimed Rose participated in the statutory rape of girls aged 12-14. age during spring training in the 1970s. Rose finally gave up the suit.
Rose admitted (after the statute of limitations expired) that he had “had sex” with the woman, but believed she was of age to consent (16) in Ohio. Looking back, “I thought she was 16!” is a truly terrible defense, but it is potentially an honest measure from a guy who is rarely honest. And in case you’re wondering, the reason I put “sex” and “relationship sex” in quotes is when a 34-year-old Man having sex with someone under 16, it’s not a “relationship”, it’s statutory rape.
Of course, even after Rose admitted to having “sex” with a child, fans stood by and cheered and welcomed his return to Philly. They always do. There’s nothing you can do with a woman in America that will turn fans away if you’re good enough at a professional sport. We have seen men accused of violent sexual assault, such as Ben Roethlisberger, Trevor Bauer and Kobe Bryant, all have male fans (and even a handful of women) ready to defend their honor anytime anyone brings up allegations of their past misconduct. (Roethlisberger and Bauer have denied the charges against them.) But back to Pete Rose.
Rose was in the dressing room when Melissa Ludtke broke the gender barrier in 1976. That was when female reporters had a bucket of cold water poured over their heads, dragged into the players’ laps in the middle of the interview. , and there are even dead mice sent to them by players. Rose seems to think this is still the 1970s, as evidenced by the fact that he dressed Coffey and called her “honey”. Then the whole thing about him shutting down a woman who dared to ask the most important question – the one Rose definitely didn’t want to answer.
I wonder how many men in the media who argued with Coffey stood up for her? And how many stood there quietly while she was dressed up by a legendary player?
But even after Rose behaved like a stupid sexist, he was still invited to the Phillies’ booth, where he continued spewing profanity and generally batting himself with boring old stories:
How long until we celebrate boys like Pete Rose? Is it really hard to say that someone is such a bad person that they are no longer worthy of our attention? Even yesterday, there were so many Rose defenders on the pitch, it was dizzying:
At a time when women are constantly besieged online, at polls, and even at our doctor’s office, for crying out loud, it’s a good and easy and right thing that football fans What you can do is say “we will no longer represent this type of behavior. Not from the great Pete Rose, not from anyone.” It’s hard to divorce sports fans who don’t care about the harm their heroes have done to women while Americans don’t care about the harm done to women in society (look at you, men celebrate Roe’s overthrow).
And yet, a lot of MLB fans would rather pluck their eyelashes than admit that one of their heroes could be the bad guy who hurts others, and they certainly won’t bring satisfaction to anyone. a bunch of noisy women. But why not? What is so special about Pete Rose or Aroldis Chapman or Trevor Bauer or Roberto Osuna that fans refuse to condemn the behavior that allegedly gets them suspended or, in Rose’s case, a lifetime ban from baseball betting ? (Chapman, Osuna and Bauer have all denied the allegations against them.) After all, there are many athletes out there to idolize those who treat others with admiration and respect.
So in 2022, knowing what we know now about Pete Rose, why still get invited on radio shows? Why is he in the booth during a Phillies game? Why are fans still standing and cheering for a guy like Pete Rose? Because once he was good at baseball?
There’s a mantra among a certain (white heterosexual) fan base that “when I watch sports, I don’t want to think about politics!” “Politics”, in this context, usually means “anything that conflicts with my politics”, but it has another meaning: “I don’t want to be forced to feel sorry for anyone but myself myself.” Of course, Black fans, women, members of the LBGTQ community, and those belonging to any other disadvantaged group do not have that luxury. We cannot separate sport, and the way it strikes, from our position in society.
What do we, as a society, have to pay when we let go of someone who is good at sports but has a bad life? And what do we, as a people, pay when we refuse?
Maybe it’s time to start thinking about it.