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Adam Jones, race and misrepresentations...


MemorialStadKid

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I am doing this thread as a way to clear up a few things I've said in regards to how people view Adam Jones and his tenure on this team. This is the last time I will address this, but I feel this needs to be said loud and clear.

First, I do have to compliment RShack on an excellent post he made in the Adam Jones live chat thread in regards to unconscious racial bias when criticizing people different than yourself:

I expect many folks will have a great deal more patience with Wieters than with AJ. And, while some folks wanna make the racial aspect an easy black-and-white issue (heh-heh), I think there are some shades of gray involved. I don't think it's as simple as some folks are evil-bad racists and other people aren't racist in any way, shape or form, and everybody falls into one of those categories. I think there is a third category, one that is somewhat socially-constructed, and that's the category of being accidentally-racist-when-you-don't-mean-it. There have been times when I caught myself accidentally reacting to a situation in a way that placed me in the third category, despite the fact that I do not intend to be racist and firmly believe that being racist is wrong. So, to the extent that my "third category" idea disses anybody, it also disses me too.

The hidden bias research has shown that people sometimes unconsciously place harsher criticism on those perceived different than themselves. I believe it's called the IMPLICIT ASSOCIATION TEST.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18122831/ -- I am at work and don't have time to do all the research but there is a site that this article is referencing that tests a person's biases based on visual stimuli and it has some interesting -- but not at all shocking -- conclusions.

I would be the first and last person in any conversation to admit to my own racial biases and its something I work at every single day of my life. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous and would contribute to the very real problems that exist in the world outside of sports-related message boards.

I will say this, black athletes are often under a more intense microscope than white athletes and this gets proven time and time again even when white athletes commit a similar transgression yet get much easier treatment from the mainstream media. (re: Big Ben in Pittsburg).

This is a looooong and exhaustive article about how the mainstream sports media tends to report black athlete transgressions vs. white athlete transgressions:

http://sportsonmymind.com/2009/09/08/happy-30th-espn-the-wwl-lionizes-black-athletes-just-not-in-the-way-the-headline-suggests/

While I will apologize for the length of this quote, it hits to the core of what I am trying to say here:

Recently, ESPN’s Senior Vice-President and Director of News, Vince Doria, explained to New York Times sports writer, Richard Sandomir, the ethics involved in not jumping out front and reporting the allegtions by a woman that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, sexually assaulted her:

ESPN’s refusal to report the story gave rise to criticism that it was not only protecting Roethlisberger’s reputation, but it was also shielding its TV partner, the N.F.L. It had taken a seemingly inviolate position that accusations in a civil suit could be false, yet incendiary enough to damage Roethlisberger’s reputation.

“Damage to his reputation is not our only criteria, but it’s the driving force in making this decision,” Vince Doria, the network’s senior vice president and director of news, said Wednesday afternoon while defending the decision not to report the story. He said the network was historically very cautious when “people have filed civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct, which is among the most serious and damaging charges you can make.”

But as elucidated by Sandomir and here at Sports on My Mind, Black athletes are rarely afforded the consideration of ethical treatment:

But ESPN reported last month on the intent of a woman to file a civil lawsuit against Los Angeles Lakers guard Shannon Brown on sex-related charges; Doria said it was reported because it occurred during the playoffs and could affect the player and the team.

Doria’s illogic appalling. Yet he makes this obviously ridiculous statement concerning Brown with the ease and confidence of a mind control expert. He must feel sure enough that the public will be so appeased by his kid glove stroking of Roethlisberger, that they would give no thought to his statement about Brown.

More recently, San Diego Chargers perennial All-Pro linebacker, Shawne Merriman was accused by a female acquaintance of choking and restraining her. Accused. The incident was reported on ESPN.com and the television network on September 6, just days from the beginning of the 2009-2010 NFL season. But did ESPN wait for all the facts of the case to be elucidated by the San Diego police before filing a report of their own? Did Vince doria or ESPN.com managing editor use discretion and, as they did with Roethlisberger, decide that ““Damage to his reputation is not our only criteria, but it’s the driving force in making this decision [not to report the Merriman story]?”

No.

There has long been a documented lack of restraint and respect towards black athletes and the quick reporting of supposed transgressions. It is not a stretch to assume that the combination of socially-constructed biases and the long term effects of consistent unbalanced scrutiny by the mainstream sports media toward non-white players would have some kind of influence on how people perceive and evaluate a black player.

I am not at all suggesting that Adam Jones is above reproach. Far from it. The guy makes too many mistakes and needs to work harder at his defense and plate discipline. 'Nuff said.

But did anyone look at the ridiculous questions he got on his live chat?

"Are you in a gang?"

That's insane. Almost as insane as there being threads criticizing the man because he CHEWS BUBBLEGUM! He doesn't chew tobacco, he doesn't act like some street thug, he speaks eloquently and treats fans with respect but somehow he is threat to the traditions of the game because HE CHEWS BUBBLEGUM.

I just found it interesting that so many people criticize him so quickly and especially after the man won an (undeserved?) Gold Glove. I was happy that an Oriole player got some kind of recognition for his work and folks here were -- and still -- say that the man somehow got an award as a gift.

I have suggested and still do that there is a kind of racial component to the Adam Jones harshness at times. Does he deserve criticism? Of course.

Does he deserve the harsh nitpicky criticism? I don't believe so.

And whenever the subject of race pops up, folks immediately jump to the "I have black friends, I like this black player" defense/argument as if though that adequately answers the point of the situation at hand. It doesn't. I have all kinds of friends, but when I find myself making certain assumptions about certain groups of people, my friendships don't come into play because those are external decisions.

Socially-constructed biases that become embedded in our consciousness don't always directly affect our daily decision making processes (like friends, co-workers, places to eat, etc.) but do come into play when issues of empathy and fairness come into mind.

On this subject, another article:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100527122141.htm

When people witness or imagine the pain of another person, their nervous system responds in essentially the same way it would if they were feeling that pain themselves. Now, researchers reporting online on May 27th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, have new evidence to show that that kind of empathy is diminished when people (black or white) who hold racial biases see that pain is being inflicted on those of another race.

Bottom line, folks tend to be tribal and less harsh towards people like themselves. I've seen this time and time again in many different arenas. With sports, its all too clear.

Now, I am not suggesting anyone here is a member of the KKK for criticizing Adam Jones. That's silly.

I am saying that I have noted a quick knee-jerk harsh reaction to what the guy does and I have often wondered why that is.

In any case, I hope that some of this makes sense but chances are that someone will read this and misunderstand what my point is.

MSK

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No, I get your point. I'd readily admit that most people, me included, probably harbor some subtle biases whether intentional or not. I just don't like it being used to suggest that such biases underlie issues such as the fact that some people don't like the fact that Jones blows bubbles while he is making plays in the OF or running the bases.

Let's get one thing straight: nobody cares that Jones chews gum. Lots of players do. But you do NOT see lots of players who blow bubbles in the middle of chasing a fly ball or trying to steal a base. And the fact that Jones does this gives the impression that he isn't 100% focused on what he is doing out there. And I just don't see anything racial about that. If Nick Markakis blew bubbles I would expect people to have the exact same reaction.

But by the way, when Jones was playing better, nobody cared about his bubble blowing. And it doesn't bother me, personally.

Now, the reaction to Jones's tweets using street language, that is another issue altogether. There is some serious chance of cultural bias there. Personally, as a 53-year old fossil, I don't know why athletes tweet at all -- it seems it isn't going to lead to anything but trouble.

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Way to pat yourself on the back.

If, as you suggest, people are extra-critical of Jones because he is black, then why is Pie so popular around here? Stop trying to read the subtext of a very obvious situation. It's 2010. People want results, regardless of ethnicity. I don't care of our players our purple with antlers coming out their butt-cheeks as long as they produce.

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It is pretty tough to discuss without knowing someones personal situation.

I can not see in to someone's heart thru a keyboard.

Only in one's actions over a long period of time can a judgement begin to be formed.

And even then it is easy to draw the wrong conclusion.

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No, I get your point. I'd readily admit that most people, me included, probably harbor some subtle biases whether intentional or not. I just don't like it being used to suggest that such biases underlie issues such as the fact that some people don't like the fact that Jones blows bubbles while he is making plays in the OF or running the bases.

Let's get one thing straight: nobody cares that Jones chews gum. Lots of players do. But you do NOT see lots of players who blow bubbles in the middle of chasing a fly ball or trying to steal a base. And the fact that Jones does this gives the impression that he isn't 100% focused on what he is doing out there. And I just don't see anything racial about that. If Nick Markakis blew bubbles I would expect people to have the exact same reaction.

But by the way, when Jones was playing better, nobody cared about his bubble blowing. And it doesn't bother me, personally.

Now, the reaction to Jones's tweets using street language, that is another issue altogether. There is some serious chance of cultural bias there. Personally, as a 53-year old fossil, I don't know why athletes tweet at all -- it seems it isn't going to lead to anything but trouble.

I agree with all of the above. And I also agree that race enters into our interpretation of events through both manifest and implicit routes.

That said, I think the reference to a "gang" in the interview was a joke about his tweets by one of our posters. Was that even asked?

Frankly, I think what you see going on here in terms of Jones v. Wieters is a simple time-delay. If Wieters is still struggling next year, folks patience will wear very thin. Maybe even by the end of this year.

I agree that people are too quick to jump on Adam, though. And it wouldn't be the first time that either subtle or over racism crept into a fans' opinions of Baltimore athletes.

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Way to pat yourself on the back.

If, as you suggest, people are extra-critical of Jones because he is black, then why is Pie so popular around here? Stop trying to read the subtext of a very obvious situation. It's 2010. People want results, regardless of ethnicity. I don't care of our players our purple with antlers coming out their butt-cheeks as long as they produce.

I don't think this is so easy as that, actually. Though it's hard to say whether folks are quicker to criticize because of race, or quicker to latch onto things associated with a player's "otherness" when they feel compelled to criticize.

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Way to pat yourself on the back.

If, as you suggest, people are extra-critical of Jones because he is black, then why is Pie so popular around here? Stop trying to read the subtext of a very obvious situation. It's 2010. People want results, regardless of ethnicity. I don't care of our players our purple with antlers coming out their butt-cheeks as long as they produce.

Wait, you're using the guy that numerous posters wanted the Orioles to release just over a year ago to support your argument?

As a fervent Felix Pie supporter, I haven't forgotten the litany of posts questioning his intelligence, work habits, etc. when he got off to a slow start in 2009.

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Way to pat yourself on the back.

If, as you suggest, people are extra-critical of Jones because he is black, then why is Pie so popular around here?

Because he hasn't screwed up lately. People were dissing the guy like crazy before he even showed up, when it was a team issue re: the visa. When he struggled at first, some folks here were not just disappointed, they were mad at the guy. To pretend there's not less patience about positive opinions swapping to harsh opinions for black guys than for suburban-seeming white guys is IMO naive. But, like I said before, I don't think it's hate-based evil-ness about race, I think it's accidental racial stuff that does not match how somebody intends to be.

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First time reader of your critcism posts.

The only (proper) discrimination I make is in relation to people's behaviour...not their physical differences.....which is what all should do, imo. Judge them on their performance no matter whom the person is. My problem is I have found blacks judge me as being racially charged when its not. They judge me because of my physical differences from them as if I was incapable of showing fairness. Are whites incapable of fairness? No. Are the capable of heavier criticism than what they would show to someone that they relate to more? sure. Its inate in all of us to be 'unfair' in this way, and takes a conscious effort to be fair. Many people are unaware of thier unfairness, to be sure. The same (maybe more so) goes for Hispanic ball players (Could Robbie Alomar have faced some of this??).

Here's my criticism of Adam Jones based on his behaviour (all players face slumps, and Adam's swinging of balls out of the strike zone has earned him some criticism quite fairly): why does he not place his hand on his heart during the National Anthem? Practically the whole stadium does it, and all the ball players.......why doesnt he? It doesnt show much respect.

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One thing to add. You heard from the media last year that DT wasn't happy with Pie's attitude. This year you heard from the media that Jones was asked to play further back but he refused. Now I am the last person in the world that believes the media is unbiased, but people may be jumping to conclusions about attitudes, etc based on published reports. There has never been anything like those reports regarding Wieters. You should go back and read some of the stuff that's been said about Billy Rowell's attitude over the years as well, as you may find it strangely similar to what has been said about Jones and Pie.

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One thing to add. You heard from the media last year that DT wasn't happy with Pie's attitude. This year you heard from the media that Jones was asked to play further back but he refused. Now I am the last person in the world that believes the media is unbiased, but people may be jumping to conclusions about attitudes, etc based on published reports. There has never been anything like those reports regarding Wieters. You should go back and read some of the stuff that's been said about Billy Rowell's attitude over the years as well, as you may find it strangely similar to what has been said about Jones and Pie.

I heard about them asking Jones of this from the broadcast booth (Thorne and analyst), but the way I heard it was that he COMPLIED. You sure you got the 'refusal' correct? I know he didnt go along with it last year, but this year he COMPLIED...or did I get that all wrong????

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I heard about them asking Jones of this from the broadcast booth (Thorne and analyst), but the way I heard it was that he COMPLIED. You sure you got the 'refusal' correct? I know he didnt go along with it last year, but this year he COMPLIED...or did I get that all wrong????

Maybe he has, but I know it was an issue last year. In any event, haven't seen enough games this year to know if he has played deeper this year. I was basing my statement off of this article, which admittedly was from the preseason: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2010-03-28/sports/bal-osnotes0328_1_orioles-manager-adam-jones-justin-turner

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