Thursday, July 03, 2014

See Bryce Run! Harper's comments amount to insubordination; recalling my own issue with workplace "conflict of interest" and public speech

I’ve written before about “conflict of interest” in terms of public speech.  I feel implored to mention it today because of news reports about the public criticism that Major League Baseball’s star 21-year-old outfielder Bryce Harper launched on the way Matt Williams was managing the team.  The Washington Post has a complete story this morning by Jason Reid (link). Harper was out over two months after ligament surgery on his thumb, injured in a reckless slide in April. (Previously, Williams had taken him out of a game for not running out a one-hopper, and I had scolded him on Facebook.)  Any time a star player routines, others are benched and sometimes sent back down to the minors.  Of course, professional baseball players are used to this.  I’d like to see the Nationals get more use out of pitchers Blake Treinen and Ross Detwiler.  And I’d like to see more of Tyler Moore, now in the minors, who can actually hit monster homers that out-distance Harper’s. 

It surely does put manager Matt Williams in a tough position, because Harper’s behavior in this regard is inappropriate, even insubordinate.  It reminds me of a political squabble in the workplace that I retired from some ten years ago.

I’ve experienced the possibility that my public speech could create ethical conflict at work in the past.  A lot of this related to my authorship and publication of my first “Do Ask Do Tell” book in 1997 when I had been working for a life insurance company specialized in selling to military officers.  The “don’t ask don’t tell” policy and my own gay history (both in the military and as a civilian) contributed to the potential conflict, which took on a certain moral and existential nature.  I’ve given the details on my Wordpress blog, here. There are obscure ways that this issue could surface again, even in my estate-management environment.  But given my own background, I find it astounding that a player would feel free to speak out like this.  Harper was actually warned about how he used social media when he was coming up the ranks in 2011 and 2012.

I have reason to believe that a few of the Nationals know who I am, so maybe these comments will have some effect.

Yes, I was in New York last weekend  (partly for NYC Gay Pride Sunday) and went to the Yankees’ game Saturday night (to see a 2-1 Yankess loss).  I had not been in the “new” Yankee stadium before, and found it rather overwhelming.  You can actually see the IRT elevated trains pass by the outfield beyond the right field stands.  The Nats won a Pride game in Chicago while I was there – the game had been moved to a Saturday double header because Chicago Pride would take place near Wrigley Field on Sunday. 

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