Opinion: Tigers Must Speak Out Against Delmon Young
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By Jeff Riger
As expected outfielder Delmon Young has been suspended. The punishment is a 7 day term retroactive back to April 24th. During the 7 days, Young will not receive a paycheck or be allowed in the Tigers clubhouse like active players. All in all, the suspension was expected, probably fair and in the grand scheme of things, not that big of a deal.
Even though I am of the Jewish faith, I was not offended by Young’s alleged remarks just because I don’t really know which part of the story I am to believe? Who did Delmon yell at? Did he really attack the Chicago tourist, or was he attacked? What exactly did he say? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions and to be honest Young himself may not know considering how intoxicated he was reported to be. The whole incident is rumored, even though there is a recording of it, that umm, oh yeah, nobody has seen…allegedly!
So what is the point of this blog you ask?
The answer is easy!
Even though I was not offended by Young’s alleged remarks, that doesn’t mean that other Jews and fans were not as well. Any time a player is linked to a so called “hate crime” whether it is true or not, it becomes a serious matter, however the Tigers are not dealing with it as such.
As President and GM Dave Dombrowski addressed the media on Monday night after the suspension was handed down, I became puzzled as to how he handled a couple reporters’ questions. Dombrowski talked about the suspension and how Young is eligible to play on Friday night against the White Sox. He also made it clear that there would be no further punishment by the Tigers after the suspension because it is against Major League rules. Dombrowski also let people know that when Friday rolls around, and Young is available to play, that the decision will be up to Leyland if he is in the lineup or not.
I have no problem with any of the above! Those are the rules and the Tigers are handling them as they should.
But my agreement with the Tigers and the GM ends there.
After the incident last Friday, Young issued a statement apologizing that read as follows…
“I sincerely regret what happened last night.” He apologizes to the Tigers owners and organization, his teammates, family and Detroit fans. Young adds, “I take this matter very seriously and assure everyone that I will do everything I can to improve myself as a person and player.”
But that is all we got!
So I asked Dombrowski how Young is dealing with the situation?
Dombrowski replied “he feels very remorseful and sorry what took place.” But does he?
Before the suspension on Monday afternoon, Young sat at his locker refusing to talk to the media. Some teammates came up and chatted to the former first overall pick, but Tigers media relations was tracking Delmon’s every move so no reporters had a chance to even get a “no comment” or “I’m not talking” on record.
If Delmon was so sorry, don’t you think he would take 5 minutes to say so? I know what you’re thinking! Maybe Young was not allowed to speak of the matter considering an investigation is going on? Well, you might be right, but why not a live apology? He did it through a statement that he might not have even written himself. Wouldn’t it mean a little more if it was in person, so we could see his reactions and listen to the tone of his voice? Young would not have to speak of what happened, but a chance to prove that he is sorry would seem like a chance that anybody in his situation would jump at. Right? Even if Young avoids all legal backlash that sure doesn’t mean the fans will be willing to forgive and forget.
It got even worse when Dombrowski was asked if Delmon would make a public statement after the suspension. You know, to once again try to prove how “remorseful and sorry” he really is? Dombrowski responded “Well he already did do that, if you recollect, he did do that himself.” Dombrowski went on to say “I think that in this situation, this is all that is going to be said. I think that is part of the arrangement, that’s part of the whole situation, this is it.”
Are you kidding me?
So Delmon apparently NEVER has to speak of this again. How convenient for him. Guy goes out and gets hammered in New York City then allegedly commits a hate crime and he never has to say a word about it. EVER? Boy, it really must be nice to be an athlete.
Of course Dombrowski and the Tigers could have saved the situation themselves. They could have put Delmon on an island and force him to fend for himself. If the team would come out strong against their left fielder and make sure that the public knows this sort of behavior will not be tolerated, then at least just Delmon looks bad in this situation. Plus, he is a guy that only has a one year deal, he more than likely will be elsewhere next season, so the team could come out looking like the hero here without having to cut Young or trade him.
But that won’t happen either!
Dombrowski was asked if the team had to do some form of damage control considering how offended people have been after hearing this story? The President and GM replied “I really can’t get into any of that at this point.”
I fully understand that the legal process has to play out and that certain things cannot be talked about. But what about a statement from the GM about how disappointed he is after the suspension? On Saturday after the incident Dombrowski said “All I know, and I was there, is that the person was not in a very good state as far as his sobriety. That is not a good situation. That’s all I know. I do know that he was in a skirmish. I do know that. Beyond that, I don’t know anything else. Those situations themselves are concerning and not what you would like to see. If the allegations are true, that is also concerning and not something you would like to see happen.”
Dombrowski went on to say “I know he’s extremely remorseful, extremely apologetic. Of course, you read his statements. I saw him at that point yesterday morning. He was apologetic at that time, although not in a very good state. But later on, he reached out to me and the organization, so I know that he’s very apologetic and that there’s no excuse for what he did.”
At no point did Dombrowski make clear that this sort of behavior will not be tolerated or anything close to that. How can you be the President of the Detroit Tigers and not come out harder against an alleged hate crime? Really, Dombrowski did not say anything about what he thinks about the matter. That seems like bad public relations and business if you ask me.
So now we hear many people claiming they are done with the Tigers and buying tickets to the team until they get an apology, and I don’t blame them. Do I think they will follow through with those statements? Probably not! But, I wouldn’t blame them if they do.
Delmon Young might have launched into an anti-Semitic rant and he might have assaulted a tourist from Chicago. And, then again maybe he didn’t! The only thing I know for sure, is that Young is definitely guilty of something; bad judgment. And, for that don’t Tiger fans deserve a live apology from somebody?
I think the answer is obvious!
It’s just a shame that nobody will give it to them.