The Toronto Blue Jays’ Anthony Bass is really sorry.
You see, Major League Baseball honors men in nun costumes who hand out condoms and simulate sex on crosses — that’s just “inclusivity.” Reactionary orthodox Christians with opinions, on the other hand, will be compelled to engage in ritual public humiliation and beg for forgiveness.
Over the weekend, Bass shared a post on his Instagram account promoting “anti-LGBTQ campaigns, which targeted boycotting Target and Bud Light because of those companies associated with the promotion of Pride campaigns.” Or, at least, “anti-LGBTQ” is how most news organizations describe boycotts against Bud Light — over the hiring of Dylan Mulvaney, who’s made a career aping a daft caricature of women — and Target, which sells chest binders and packing clothing and markets pro-trans apparel to kids.
Anyway, Bass’s scripted apology has all the earmarks of a contemporary struggle session.
First, the confession for wrongthink:
I recognize yesterday that I made a post that was hurtful to the Pride community, which includes friends of mine and close family members of mine, and I am truly sorry for that. I just spoke with my teammates and shared with them my actions yesterday.
Then the apology and promise of reform:
I apologized (to) them and, as of right now, I am using the Blue Jays’ resources to better educate myself to make better decisions moving forward. The ballpark is for everybody. We include all fans at the ballpark and we want to welcome everybody.
No one, of course, was hurt by Bass’s comments supporting boycotts of a couple of multibillion-dollar corporations. As I recently noted, “educate” is nothing but a euphemism for ideological conformity. And anyone who values free expression should be appalled by the obvious coercion.
Not even bowing your head to teammates and admitting bad “actions” is enough, though. Blue Jays manager John Schneider told reporters that Bass’s self-flagellation would be ongoing. “We’re not going to pretend like this never happened,” the second-year manager said. “We’re not going to pretend like it’s the end and move on. There are definitely more steps that are going to follow.”
Why should a player give a single whit about Schneider’s positions on faith or sex or economic boycotts or anything else, for that matter? If he weren’t such a coward, the manager would simply have noted that all people, including baseball players, are entitled to an opinion in a free country without having to worry about losing their jobs or publicly debasing themselves. Instead, a player must now not only participate in “LGBTQ2S+” pride night but take lessons on how to embrace every letter (and plus sign and number).
Then again, the point of all this isn’t to punish a journeyman middle reliever. It’s to chill speech and transform relatively common positions about faith and irrefutable biological truths into blasphemous utterances, whether done in private or not.
As of this writing, Bass is — or, rather, was — one of only four players among more than 900 major league players who have spoken up on this kind of issue. Clayton Kershaw, who’s probably made somewhere around $350 million playing baseball, finally, and very gingerly, disagreed with his team for honoring those drag clowns of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The Dodgers’ Blake Treinen and Nationals’ Trevor Williams are basically the only players who have unambiguously come out with statements, the latter telling “fellow Catholics” to reconsider supporting the team.
It’s completely understandable that athletes prefer to stay out of politics and cultural battles. I wish they all did. But if Bass had shown disdain for the American flag and defended a mass murderer as did Colin Kaepernick — a borderline pro who could conveniently blame his short career on his outspoken rhetoric — he’d get a massive sneaker deal for his trouble. But if you’re on the wrong side of history, you’re going to be educated.