Against that backdrop, Kyrie Irving thought nothing of taking to Twitter to promote “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” a virulently antisemitic “documentary” that revisits harmful, hateful tropes about the greed and power Jewish people are said to exert in U.S. banking, entertainment and media.
Whether free-speech protections cover hate-speech idiocy can be debated, but Irving’s refusal to apologize left the Brooklyn Nets no choice but to suspend him. Pro sports’ survival depends on the trust and good will of the customers, and it was hardly good business for a high-profile employee to blatantly insult the fan base in a borough whose population is nearly one-quarter Jewish.
Especially an employee with goofball priors as a flat-earth advocate who missed 52 of 82 games last season after refusing to be vaccinated.
By now you’ve probably seen video of that Michigan State college prank—football players taking out their frustration over a big loss by stomping the beejabbers out of two Michigan kids, an act for which they would have been arrested had it taken place on the street rather than in a stadium.
And deplorable Daniel Snyder, after running a showpiece NFL franchise into the ground, is finally on the outs with his fellow owners only because some of his toxic misdeeds as supreme commander of the Washington Commanders might have cost those owners money.
We find ourselves questioning whether sports are worth the time, money and emotional energy we invest in them. And then the clouds part, the sun emerges and justification arrives: Dusty Baker is a world champion.
The news was greeted with indifference, if not indignation, by those Chicagoans who maintain a laundry list of grievances toward Baker dating to the four seasons he managed the Cubs from 2003 to 2006.
I celebrated. I’ve known the man since 1977, and I know him to be an exemplary human being, honest, intelligent and genuine—one of the best people I’ve encountered in sports or any other walk of life.
Baker has won division titles with five different teams, a first. Standing ninth all-time in career victories gives him more wins than Hall of Famers Whitey Herzog, Tommy Lasorda and Dick Williams, with as many titles as Herzog and Bobby Cox. More so than any of them, though, Baker had to win a World Series to earn “validation” as one of the best at what he does.
I don’t know anyone—player, trainer, PR person, writer—who has been around Baker in any capacity and doesn’t like or respect him, as evidenced by the mob scene that engulfed him in the Astros’ dugout after the final out in Game 6 or the Houston players’ frequent assertions that they were out to win this series for Dusty. He brings out the best in people.
Dozens of his friends and former associates made it to Houston to be with Baker in his moment of triumph. Among them was Noah Jackson, an assistant baseball coach at the University of California whom Dusty helped raise after his father, Bay Area sportscaster Sylvester Jackson, died when Noah was 11.
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