By Cole Parkinson
Friday morning saw the announcement Blue Jays inducted Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar was being terminated as a consultant to Major League Baseball and placed on the Ineligible list due to findings in their review of his 2014 sexual misconduct allegation.
The Blue Jays also announced they were severing all ties with Alomar, including taking his name down from the Level of Excellence and pulling his retired number banner down from the rafters at Rogers Centre. It was understandably a tough day for the majority of the fanbase, especially those old enough to remember his significant contributions to the Jays’ back-to- back World Series wins in 1992 and 1993.
While I wasn’t even born during those championships, I’ve seen the highlights many times over and his home run in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series in 1992 against Oakland is arguably one of the biggest moments for the Blue Jays franchise. So it’s quite understandable why so many Jays fans were upset by the news.
And while Alomar has made a statement saying his “hope is this allegation can be heard in a venue that will allow me to address the accusation directly,” it’s hard to believe his side wasn’t heard in the review. The incident in question happened seven years ago and the review was started earlier this year after an individual brought forward the complaint. The look into the matter was an independent investigation by an external legal firm.
It’s not like the MLB is banning players, executives or staff every other week, this was obviously a major deal for the MLB and what they found obviously was pretty damning of Alomar. Brandon Taubman, the former Houston Astors assistant GM, was the last person added to the Ineligible list in January 2020 for inappropriate comments made towards female reporters.
This signifies a much-needed shift in sports culture across all leagues around the treatment of women.
Mickey Callaway was accused of harassing multiple women involved with baseball earlier this year and also got fired from his position with the New York Mets.
These disgusting actions should have consequences, and I don’t care how famous, rich or powerful you are, you should be held accountable. Women have long put up with this type of nonsense across the world and men have to be better all around.
That doesn’t mean the memories he provided on the field in those memorable seasons shouldn’t be tarnished if you don’t want them to be.
I believe in separating the artist from their work and while I understand that isn’t how everyone operates, I think it’s naive to believe everything you consume — whether it be sports, music, movies, art or books — are put out by unflawed people.
He is arguably the best Blue Jay of all time, but that doesn’t mean he’s a great person off the field. Is that disappointing? Absolutely, but it just goes to show some people who have power, influence and money use that for the wrong reasons. The Baseball Hall of Fame has also stated his plaque will stay in Cooperstown — which I agree with. The Hall is for the best players of all time and only looks at their game on the field and the merits they achieved while playing. Removing plaques because of what players do off the field isn’t what the Hall is about and hopefully people can realize players on the field and off the field are completely different.
While my outlook on Alomar, as a person, has definitely changed for the worse — I won’t be looking back on his time with the Blue Jays any differently. He was a crucial cog to those World Series-winning teams — he was a fantastic player on both sides of the ball, and without him, they likely don’t win. But again, this shouldn’t excuse him for being a complete jerk off the field, and the team and league shouldn’t have to stand by him if they feel he was in the wrong, which they clearly do. The allegations against Alomar were founded in the review and a punishment was deserved.
Amongst other allegations in the 2000s, there was also the spitting incident in 1996 with umpire John Hirschbeck — which wasn’t viewed favourably by anyone.
So Alomar’s character had already been questioned before this incident. And don’t get me wrong, Hirschbeck definitely was no angel in this situation either, but spitting in someone’s face is beyond reprehensible.
This just brings another level to the legacy of Roberto Alomar, and these negative allegations will no doubt leave people with bad tastes in their mouth. It just goes to show that while you may look up to people because of what they do on the field, it doesn’t mean what they do off the field is something to look up to.