Too Big to Assail

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The Cleveland baseball team has now been eliminated in the playoffs three years running.

Each of those three years, the team that eliminated them had just acquired a closer with a previous MLB suspension for domestic violence.

Two of those teams traded for that closer during the season in which he was suspended. (One of those two, in fact, traded for the closer DURING his suspension.) The third had just signed their closer to the largest reliever contract in history.

Sports are sports and individual front offices make and justify individual choices in all sorts of different ways. But as much as we should be talking about the players teams aren’t signing, we should also pay attention to the ones they are.

And as much as sports can be a safer outlet for a society’s tribalistic tendencies, the depth to which our loyalties lie makes it difficult to actually drive consequences that are large enough in scale for teams to pay attention to. (And certainly, to the extent that teams have felt any financial consequences for anything, they tend to reinforce in the wrong direction.)

So what does that leave? There are plenty of other things that are more productive targets of direct protest. But perhaps this is another illustration that direct action is and has to be the way out. Working within the system is necessary for change, but: 1) it’s not sufficient for that change, and 2) it’s almost guaranteed to already be present.

The work, and every kind of it, continues. By any, and every, means necessary.

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