Phenomenal Phillies Phailure

On Friday, Phillies pitcher Brett Myers was arrested in Boston for allegedly assaulting his wife on a crowded Boston street. There’s little doubt that he did it – it was in the middle of the street in front of multiple witnesses, but technically he is innocent until proven guilty.

There’s no defending the act. None. Beating your wife – or any women – is always reprehensible. But there are good ways and bad ways to deal with the aftermath of the situation, and the only person who did anything right was the Boston police spokesman when he refused to comment on specifics of the case. From the Phillies’ and Myers’ side of things, they couldn’t have done a worse job at dealing with this.

What SHOULD HAVE been done

Brett Myers: “What I did was a grave mistake that I am embarrassed and deeply saddened over. I can make no excuses for my actions, only express my regrets. I am committed to my marriage and will address what happened professionally with my wife’s help. In the interim, I ask that this remain a private matter for my family.”

Instead, what he did was pitch, and then utter this beautiful line:

“I’m sorry it had to get public, that’s it. Of course, it’s embarrassing.”

What an asshat.

The Philliesstart Myers’ on Saturday, the NEXT DAY after the incident. They offered little in the way of comment or clarification, save for a comment from GM Pat Gillick which said little but spoke volumes:

“He’s our best pitcher and it’s in the best interests of the club.”

Further response from either party took four days to come, and when those statements came, they sounded very similar to what I had written above (before the statements were made). However, they weren’t without some differences. In Myers’ statement, he apologizes, stating that he was following the recommendations of his lawyer not to comment on the situation. Okay, I can see that. But he is also states that he is disputing the facts are as alleged, which even if they aren’t accurate, isn’t something that you put out there when trying to make an apology. He does finish it off, and states that he is voluntarily leaving the team for a few weeks to seek counseling. That’s great. Unfortunately, the letter isn’t even signed by Myers, but by his agent. You just don’t get it, do you Brett.

The Phillies’ response is better, though still lacking. They too claim that they acted in what they deemed the best course of action considering the Myers’ privacy and the fact that an investigation was continuing. They then seek to admonish the public for seeing this as “being portrayed or interpreted as a Phillies indifference to problems of spousal abuse”. Well, yes – it indeed REEKS of it. You didn’t need to mention Myers to make a whole-hearted statement that the Phillies do not condone domestic abuse in any form, to make a blanket statement without assigning guilt or innocence. While their response is better, the finger-pointing tone they take is ridiculous, callous and uncalled for.

The End Result

By doing nothing for so long – intentions worthy or not – Myers and the Phillies sent a message out, one that made a disturbing event – that could have been noted and dealt with as a private matter of grave consequence – into an expanding quagmire that will – understandably and justifyably – turn ugly. Too often, pro athletes treat the law as an inconvenience or even with open contempt; correspondingly, the legal system far too often treats these athletes as though they above the laws of the common man. The reaction by all facets of the Phillies organization did nothing to dispel that impression, and set a precedent that they though domestic abuse was a trivial and unimportant issue compared to a game. I’m fairly sure that they ‘re about to find out that it was a huge mistake that they will be paying for in spades.

side note »

This morning on WIP, a female caller was on the phone regarding this situation, a told of how she had contacted the Phillies demanding a refund for future tickets – something I’m sure she’ll not be alone in doing. She explained that she too was a victim of domestic abuse, and sympethized with Kim Myers, the victim. But then she went onto something that made me cringe and actually react to . She stated that he should lose his job because ‘he was an angry man who would continue to beat her … that he was angry, angry at everyone and could never love anybody.’

Oh, come On. While I will never defend what he did, I think that was a gross over-reaction. She knows no more about the situation than any of use, and to crucify the guy over a single incident is ludicrous and reactionary. For all we know, this might be the only time anything like this has happened, and if so, who is to say that this singular incident isn’t enough to scare the guy straight? To imply that because it happened once, he’s a monster that should suffer the ravages of all punishments at once is ridiculous. Now, that being said, his reaction to this whole thing makes me feel that he either a) doesn’t really get it or b) this isn’t a one-time thing, in which case the situation is more serious than a one-time occurrence. But just as we can’t condone his lack of remorse, we can’t jump in as judge, jury and executioner and pronounce him guilty and unfit to be around human civilization. Use some balance, people!

Phillies fans being what they are, Myers’ career here is essentially over. His – and the teams – better late than never responses have doomed what was a popular player and one of the best pitchers on the staff (not necessarily a huge achievement). But then again, after this, who would want to pick him up – especially this season?


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