MLB and Doublethink

In his book Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell coined the term “doublethink”, which is “the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct”.

Recently, the Phillies joined the numerous other teams in baseball that have participated in the anti-bullying campaign, which is aimed at LGBT youth in America. You can watch the video below:

Throughout most of the season, Michael Stutes has been on the receiving end of a rookie hazing ritual. As he goes to the bullpen before the start of a game, he must walk with a pink backpack carrying nourishing goodies for his ‘pen mates, seen below:

Doesn’t this seem hypocritical to anyone else? The Phillies participate in the campaign and also allow their players to pull a prank that marginalizes a player’s masculinity by associating it with a feminine color? Dan Savage thinks so:

Yeah, yeah: I’m playing the role model card. But when pink backbacks and feather boas trickle down to Little League and high school teams, as they inevitably will (if they haven’t already), boys who have yet develop the ability to laugh this kind of teasing off—boys who aren’t as secure in their sexualities and masculinities as these professional athletes are—will be subjected to the same humiliating treatment. For boys who are still going through puberty, for boys who are still developing a sense of what it means to be a man, for boys who have yet to realize that they get to define manhood for themselves, being called a girl or a fag can be devastating. And while it may be rookie relievers who come in for this playful teasing in the major leagues, on high school and Little League teams it’s going to be those boys who are already under suspicion for being queer—boys who are perceived to be sissies—who are going to be abused.

To the Phillies, and any other forward-thinking MLB teams, put the kibosh on the pink backpack prank. It’s not as harmless as you think.

(Tip of the cap to Rob Neyer, who directed me to the Savage article in his Friday Filberts.)

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