On Tuesday, Royals’ general manager Dayton Moore made, as Whitney McIntosh put it, “irresponsible and infuriating” comments about undrafted child molester Luke Heimlich. I’ll let McIntosh’s piece speak for itself, as there is another angle I’d like to focus on, and that’s the refusal or certain parts of the sports journalism industry to tackle what any of this actually means.
ESPN’s Buster Olney and The Athletic’s Rustin Dodd — Dodd’s interview with Moore is the one that started this conversation up again — argued what they were doing by talking up Dayton Moore’s credibility among Major League front offices and his peers was just reporting. The issue is this kind of “reporting” services no one besides Moore and Heimlich. Olney and Dodd were doing public relations work for them by refusing, in their minds, to editorialize on the reported idea that Moore has credibility and is respected among his peers.
However, just rolling with the reported fact that Moore is respected and admired is a form of editorializing: by not explaining or challenging what that means in this context, Olney and Dodd are failing their readers and viewers by just letting them believe what Moore is saying and what his peers are saying about him is what matters. Instead, they could be wondering why it is that someone advocating for Heimlich to be given a “second chance” has the respect of his peers, and if he’ll still have it after this saga wraps up with Heimlich in Royals’ blue.
True reporting should include editorializing — you’re not an Associated Press news wire, guys. Just throwing quotes out there and letting the chips fall where they may isn’t reporting: it’s sloppiness, it’s laziness, it’s journalistic cowardice. Moore is out here making wild statements about second chances, throwing players like Jarrod Dyson under the bus with irresponsible quotes and comparisons in service of normalizing the potential signing of a child molester because he throws hard, and your reaction is to, without any necessary context, bring up that Moore’s peers respect him, which in turn normalizes Moore’s behavior.
Why not focus on how professional sports allow for these situations to occur due to their obsession with efficiency and finding value wherever it exists, even if that means trading for someone suspended for domestic violence or signing someone who pleaded guilty to molesting his niece who refuses to admit any of the fault belongs with him? One reason is that sports journalism, as a whole, still does not know how to write about sexual assault even a little bit.
Maybe wonder why Moore, who forced his players to attend an anti-pornography seminar so they’d learn to respect women, is so interested in believing in redemption for someone who admitted in court to molesting their niece. Maybe wonder how many other executives out there wish they had Moore’s courage, which allows him to rationalize the idea of signing a child molester because the price will be low and the on-field upside high. Maybe wonder why we’re basing moral judgments on the respect levels of a bunch of ruthless Wall Street wannabes who all had to float rumors of drafting Heimlich earlier this month to various outlets to find out if their fans would be too mad at them for doing so to justify actually going through with it.
Maybe do even 10 percent of the work Jeff Passan did in his own column on Heimlich and the shamelessness of this entire easily avoidable situation.
Rather than any of this, what we’re seeing instead is the normalization of both Moore and Heimlich, which will only help a man not even seeking contrition or redemption to find both. Great reporting!
- The Yankees aren’t even fully flexing right now and they’re still in first place. Enjoy the next decade or whatever, everyone else.
- We’re not done with the terrible Tuesday news yet. Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson is taking a leave of absence due to a cancer recurrence.
- A dead body was found in a beer cooler at SunTrust Park. The investigation is ongoing.
- At least MLB’s Twitter account shut down this fan who was angry at MLB’s participation in a Pride Parade.
- Alright, let’s get a palate cleanser in here: Archie Bradley admitted he shit his pants during a game.
- Lorenzo Cain is hurting, which means someone else on the Brewers is going to have to step up.
- The Cubs placed Kris Bryant on the disabled list, but it was just fine on Tuesday, because they still have Javier Baez.
- Matt Provenzano wrote that the Royals should not dare to sign Heimlich, and explained why.
- And I’d like to once again direct you to winning at the cost of silence.