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John Rocker: Still a Douchebag

Anyone still remember John Rocker? He was the Atlanta Braves relief pitcher who said a bunch of bigoted things to a reporter in 1999 and got suspended and fined by Major League Baseball over it and saw his public reputation destroyed. I’m sure you’ll all be shocked to hear that he has a new book out blaming everyone but himself — and that the Worldnutdaily is selling the book with another fake article that is really just an advertisement (we should have a name for that — adverticle?).

For the record, here are some of things he said to a Sports Illustrated reporter. When asked if he would ever play for a New York team:

“I would retire first. It’s the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the [Number] 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you’re [riding through] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing….

The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners. I’m not a very big fan of foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get into this country?” …

“So many dumb asses don’t know how to drive in this town,” he says, Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind humming softly from the radio. “They turn from the wrong lane. They go 20 miles per hour. It makes me want — Look! Look at this idiot! I guarantee you she’s a Japanese woman.” A beige Toyota is jerking from lane to lane. The woman at the wheel is white. “How bad are Asian women at driving?”

Apparently aware of how all this is making him sound, and the fact that he’s saying these things to a reporter who is writing an article about him, he says, “I’m not a racist or prejudiced person, but certain people bother me.” Well I guess that makes it all okay. The Worldnutdaily, naturally, calls him “the first victim of many shots in the politically correct war waged against patriotic Americans.” Well of course. Because the problem is how patriotic he is, not how ignorant and bigoted he is.

So now he has a new book out and he’s blaming everyone but himself. And making all the familiar excuses. Stop me if you’ve heard these before:

Rocker’s life was radically altered after an interview with notorious sports journalist Jeff Pearlman from Sports Illustrated…

Rocker commented, “I said some things about New York City which in the context they were presented led many people to automatically interpret as racist, xenophobic, or bigoted. And to this day, that’s what I’m most remembered for. Not what I accomplished on the field, but what I said in an interview with Sports Illustrated.

“Pearlman spent nearly 10 hours with me that day and we engaged in numerous very long-winded conversations on everything from how to throw a breaking ball to the effects of a flawed U.S. immigration policy. Strategically extracting a sentence fragment here and separate thought there Pearlman painted the exact picture of me he intended from the very beginning and in doing so remained true to form and consistent with his long and decorated history of trash journalism. In my research I have found that Pearlman has done eerily similar hatchet jobs to dozens of other subjects during his 20 year career,” said Rocker.

Notice that he doesn’t deny saying the things he said. He can’t, of course. He said some really stupid, bigoted things to a reporter; that reporter, uh, reported them. And now it’s all the reporter’s fault? Sorry, the world doesn’t work that way. It isn’t his fault for reporting the things you said, it’s your fault for saying them. And thinking them in the first place. Reporting your own words accurately is not a “hatchet job.”

To say John Rocker is fed up with political correctness and the culture police that enforce their speech code standards would be a gross understatement. As Rocker made clear to WND, he’s still waiting for the day when a public figures makes a politically incorrect remark and refuses to cower to the mainstream media. He would love to see someone stand in support of his or her opinion and say: “You know what? I’m not sorry. I don’t care if you’re offended. I have just as much of a right in this country to speak my mind without fear of abuse as you do to be offended.”

But this doesn’t have anything to do with free speech. Rocker wasn’t thrown in jail for being a bigot; being a bigot is perfectly legal in this country. He did get suspended and fined by Major League Baseball, but they have that authority and he signed a contract under an agreement that gives them that authority. And he got criticized. A lot. As he should have. Tough shit. Get over it. And drop the martyr act. You’re a douchebag and the world now sees you as a douchebag; that doesn’t mean you’re being persecuted.

Comments

  1. gregoryhilliard says

    What is it with these Braves pitchers? Remember Roger McDowell, their pitching coach (yeah, I know he pitched mostly for the Mets)? He heckled some Giants fans (“Are you a homo couple or a threesome?”), simulated a sex act with a bat, and used the same bat to threaten a man who asked him to tone down his language in front of kids.

  2. cswella says

    In other words, there exists out there a context where “some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS” or “The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners.” or even “How bad are Asian women at driving?” isn’t racist/bigotry.

  3. Michael Heath says

    Rocker’s rhetoric and excuses = content Sarah Palin uses to masturbate.

  4. says

    He said some really stupid, bigoted things to a reporter; that reporter, uh, reported them. And now it’s all the reporter’s fault?

    Reminds me of the people who whined about leaked torture videos, saying it would be the leak’s fault if the videos increased terrorist recruitment, instead of, you know, the torturers being at fault for providing the content.

  5. says

    He’s from Macon Georgia, so I can’t imagine where he picked up attitudes like that.

    Funny things is that much of what he detests is what New Yorkers love about New York.

  6. doktorzoom says

    Could have been worse. Rocker could’ve said, “Pearlman, huh? You Jewish? You know the Holocaust never happened, right? Just my opinion.”

  7. says

    “Rocker’s rhetoric and excuses = content Sarah Palin uses to masturbate.”

    I actually doubt that, Michael Heat. I think that given her narcissism she prolly uses photos of herself.

  8. Who Knows? says

    Funny things is that much of what he detests is what New Yorkers love about New York.

    That is what I was thinking when I read it. Everything he hates about New York, is exactly what I love about it. It’s a great city.

  9. tubi says

    @1

    Remember Roger McDowell…

    About what I’d expect from the “second spitter.”

  10. illdoittomorrow says

    “Pearlman spent nearly 10 hours with me that day and we engaged in numerous very long-winded conversations on everything from how to throw a breaking ball to the effects of a flawed U.S. immigration policy.”

    Is that what they’re calling grunting about furriners now?

    Also, I’d give my eye teeth to have a portable job skill (defining that term broadly) that could give me a chance at multi-million dollar employment in some of the US’s coolest cities, NYC included.

    What an asshole.

  11. Michael Heath says

    Me earlier:

    Rocker’s rhetoric and excuses = content Sarah Palin uses to masturbate.

    Democommie:

    I actually doubt that, Michael Heath. I think that given her narcissism she prolly uses photos of herself.

    Well given Palin’s Glenn Rice adventure maybe I’m right . . . either way, I bet she’s at least listening to Rocker.

  12. says

    “Funny things is that much of what he detests is what New Yorkers love about New York.

    I always had the impression that the extreme reaction from New Yorkers had less to do with Rocker’s bigotry and more to do with his dismissal of their cultural identity. Never mind the gays, Asians, foreigners, etc. — he insulted New York.

  13. says

    If Rocker doesn’t like being around all those foreigners in New York, I wonder how he liked being around them in the typical MLB locker room.

  14. Ichthyic says

    Rocker’s rhetoric and excuses = content Sarah Palin uses to masturbate.

    Unfortunately, she’s also gotten pretty good at turning what turns her on, into cash.

    I’m sure she took lessons from Ann Coulter.

  15. says

    timgueguen “If Rocker doesn’t like being around all those foreigners in New York, I wonder how he liked being around them in the typical MLB locker room.”
    Assuming the conversation follows the normal flow: “Well…those ones are the good ones.”

  16. Jeremy Shaffer says

    the Worldnutdaily is selling the book with another fake article that is really just an advertisement (we should have a name for that — adverticle?).

    I thought “WND article” was the name for them.

  17. says

    @Area Man:

    I always had the impression that the extreme reaction from New Yorkers had less to do with Rocker’s bigotry and more to do with his dismissal of their cultural identity. Never mind the gays, Asians, foreigners, etc. — he insulted New York.

    I’ve lived in New York and Chicago, the latter much longer than the former and I now consider it my second hometown. I’d say that, in general, New Yorkers could hardly care less about what other people think of New York and New Yorkers; Chicagoans, on the hand, sound a lot more like what you’re describing. I guess I could be wrong, but I think reaction in New York to Rocker was very much about the bigotry. Thinking that New Yorkers care about what some guy from Macon, GA thinks of New Yorkers is like thinking that a tall man cringes when a midget calls him short.

  18. says

    Judging from his Wikipedia entry, Rocker has a long history of being an asshole since that interview — oh, and he admits to doing steroids too (though given that he’s one of the few to admit it, maybe that’s actually a point in his favor).

  19. says

    I’ve lived in New York and Chicago, the latter much longer than the former and I now consider it my second hometown. I’d say that, in general, New Yorkers could hardly care less about what other people think of New York and New Yorkers.

    I’ll take your word for it. My experience with New Yorkers is that they’re eager to tell everyone within earshot (about a 5 mile radius) about how much better New York is than wherever you’re from. But my experience may not be representative.

    I guess I could be wrong, but I think reaction in New York to Rocker was very much about the bigotry.

    What I was trying to get at was more along the lines that the bigotry was insulting in large part because New York is such a cosmopolitan place. In other words, it was an insult to New York precisely because you can’t separate the city’s cultural identity from its many ethnicities, nationalities, and occasional weirdos. Whatever the case, New Yorkers seemed to have taken it personally.

  20. gridlore says

    And to this day, that’s what I’m most remembered for. Not what I accomplished on the field, but what I said in an interview with Sports Illustrated.

    OK, in six Major League seasons, he was 13-22 with a 3.71 ERA. Does he really want to be remembered as a mediocre relief pitcher who gave up an amazing number of home runs?

  21. says

    “OK, in six Major League seasons, he was 13-22 with a 3.71 ERA.”

    Actually, that’s not a bad ERA. Dennis Eckersley, who is in the hall of fame, had a career 3.5. Nolan Ryan had a 3.19. Anything under 4 is respectable.

    The win-loss record is mostly meaningless for closers. They can rarely win games but can always lose them. He had 88 saves to put that into perspective.

    In 1999-2000, when he made his mark as a douchebag, he was one of the best closers in baseball. His elite status however was short-lived, and he spent the next few years bouncing from team to team with bad numbers. Also, he was a douchebag.

  22. carlsonjok says

    OK, in six Major League seasons, he was 13-22 with a 3.71 ERA

    Well, not to be pedantic (OK, to be pedantic), he was 13-22 with a 3.42 ERA. His win percentage was .371.

    That said, he still wasn’t *that* great of a pitcher. Sure, he put up some flashy save numbers for a few years, but his career 1.426 WHIP (and a 5.8 BB/9 offsetting his 11.7 K/9) wasn’t anything to write home about.

  23. says

    The Eck has almost 200 wins AND 390 saves. He averaged something like 36 saves/year from 1987-1998. He did have the luxury of having some great pitchers in front of him and the Bas(teroid)h Brothers whackin’ the shit outta the ball (except in that memorable series against the Dodgers).

    Eckersley struggled with alcoholism and seems to have arrived at the spot where he lives a pretty good life, one day at a time. I met him once when he and a companion were dining in Newburyport, MA. He was gracious and courteous. Whatever else he might be, Eck is the antithesis of Rocker.

  24. johndoe959 says

    I love the attitude that John Rocker is so close-minded and that EVERYONE from New York is the epitome of acceptance, then everyone bashes Macon, Georgia and acts like everyone there is ignorant. “We are so open-minded! Look at us! Everyone that is not us is SO stupid! We are the best! Everyone that does not think exactly like is should be ignored or bashed!”

    I actually met John Rocker last night (Googled his name to see what he is up to now) and he was extremely nice.

    You people should be proud of yourselves. Wait, you already are. Keep it up.

  25. says

    I remember reading an article by Mr. Pearlman a few years ago in which he addressed the “context” issue after Rocker whined about it. He basically extended an open invitation to Rocker to sit down with him and listen to all the tape-recordings of that interview, which Pearlman still had at the time, and explain to him what he took out of context. Any odds on whether Rocker follows up on that?

  26. says

    John Rocker is not the only douchebag. Douchebaggery would include anyone who supports or believes that lying sack of shit. Yeah, Johndull959, I’m talkin’ to you.

    “I love the attitude that John Rocker is so close-minded and that EVERYONE from New York is the epitome of acceptance, then everyone bashes Macon, Georgia and acts like everyone there is ignorant.”

    Couple of nice strawmen you have there, douchebag. Nobody on this thread said:

    “…that EVERYONE from New York is the epitome of acceptance”

    Further, not everyone on this thread:

    “…bashes Macon, Georgia and acts like everyone there is ignorant.”.

    The hubris of commenters on this thread has hardly been proven universal; your stupidity and indignorance, otoh, has been.

  27. says

    I actually met John Rocker last night (Googled his name to see what he is up to now) and he was extremely nice.

    So out of all the places he could have been in America, Google told you he was in your neighborhood at a place and time you could meet him? Color me skeptical.

    Even if true, do you really think bigoted a-holes are always nasty to everyone? Even in that original interview, I’m sure he was extremely friendly and courteous with the reporter. If you had paid any attention to those Google results, you would have quickly seen that Rocker has had long history of prejudicial remarks about minorities in this country. So unless you’re telling us he was nice to you, a flamboyant gay black guy with a heavy Puerto Rican accent, then your encounter proves nothing.

  28. says

    “So unless you’re telling us he was nice to you, a flamboyant gay black guy with a heavy Puerto Rican accent, then your encounter proves nothing.”

    I didn’t know that Rocker had gone into ministry.

  29. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    “They turn from the wrong lane. They go 20 miles per hour. It makes me want — Look! Look at this idiot! […]” A beige Toyota is jerking from lane to lane.

    And in this tiny fraction of his post he actually has a point: people who can’t drive shouldn’t be allowed to.

    What the hell this has to do with race or gender is beyond me, though. >.>

  30. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    I love the attitude that John Rocker is so close-minded and that EVERYONE from New York is the epitome of acceptance, then everyone bashes Macon, Georgia and acts like everyone there is ignorant.

    If people from there spent half the energy denouncing shitbags like Rocker that they do whining about being “unfairly” associated with them, we might have a better opinion of them.

  31. dingojack says

    johndoe959 (#28) – “I love the attitude that John Rocker is so close-minded and that EVERYONE from New York is the epitome of acceptance…”
    Area Man (#23) – “My experience with New Yorkers is that they’re eager to tell everyone within earshot (about a 5 mile radius) about how much better New York is than wherever you’re from. But my experience may not be representative”.

    Care to re-word Johnno?

    Dingo
    —–
    a Noo Yorker once tried the tired old ‘so good they named in twice’ line on me, I replied ‘You haven’t been to Wagga Wagga, Curl Curl, Tilba Tilba or Woy Woy then’

  32. dan4 says

    “You know what? I’m not sorry. I don’t care if you’re offended. I have just as much right in this country to speak my mind without fear of abuse as you do to be offended.”

    I don’t really get what he’s talking about with the “without fear of abuse” inclusion in the last sentence.

  33. dan4 says

    @37: To clarify my last comment, yes, Rocker shouldn’t receive physical or verbal abuse for his dumb comments (although we might be in somewhat subjective territory in what could/should be labeled as the latter kind of “abuse”). I just don’t think an expression of not wanting such abuse made much sense in the specific context of a “A person shouldn’t apologize for making a politically incorrect statement!” declaration.

  34. dingojack says

    Dan – what he means is:

    ‘I’ll say lying, hateful things because you have no right not to be offended, and you’re not permitted to respond in case I’m offended’

    .
    If his skin was any thinner, it’d be totally transparent.
    Dingo

  35. says

    “Rocker shouldn’t receive physical or verbal abuse for his dumb comments”

    He has an absolute right to be a hate-filled, arrogant prick and an asshole. I have an absolute right to call him out for it. Fuck Rocker and anyone who supports the hate-filled, arrogant prick and asshole.

  36. stace says

    He had 88 saves

    Whoa, 88 saves, somebody save his place in the Hall of Fame. That’s pretty much two seasons of work for Trevor Hoffman in his prime.

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