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JimF
03-01-00, 04:05 PM
John Rocker's suspension was cut in half to the first 14 days of the regular season, and he can report to the Atlanta Braves' spring training camp Thursday.

Shyam Das, making his first decision as baseball's independent arbitrator, also cut Rocker's $20,000 fine to $500 in a decision announced Wednesday.

"I think it's fair," Braves pitcher Tom Glavine said. "It allows him some of spring training to get ready for the season. ... If not, you run the risk of John ruining his career. No one wants that. That would be unfair."

The reliever, punished for disparaging foreigners, homosexuals and minorities in a magazine interview, is expected to address teammates Thursday in Kissimmee, Fla., then hold a news conference.

Rocker originally was suspended for all 45 days of spring training and the first 28 days of the regular season by commissioner Bud Selig.

"I disagree with the decision," Selig said. "It does not reflect any understanding or sensitivity to the important social responsibility that baseball ... has to be the public. It completely ignores the sensibilities of those groups of people maligned by Mr. Rocker and disregards the player's position as a role model for children."

Atlanta city councilman Derrick Boazman, leader of a coalition of minority groups that has called for the Braves to release Rocker, also was unhappy with the decision.

"Hate and bigotry and homophobia and racism have a place, evidently, and that place is in Major League Baseball," he said.

Braves general manager John Schuerholz, who noted there was interest from other teams in acquiring Rocker, said Atlanta said was prepared to accept Rocker back.

"We don't anticipate there will be a problem," he said. "I think John realizes he needs to mend his place in this team with his teammates."

In his Jan. 31 decision, Selig said Rocker's comments in a December issue of Sports Illustrated "offended practically every element of society."

Rocker will wind up missing the first 13 days of spring training and, if no games are postponed by weather, the first 12 games of the regular season. Atlanta's first game after the suspension is against Philadelphia at Turner Field on April 18.

"I think this is good all the way around," Braves reliever Rudy Seanez said. "Everybody is ready to get past it and move on."

Rocker told the magazine he would never play for a New York team because he didn't want to ride a subway train "next to some queer with AIDS." He also mocked foreigners and called a Latin teammate a "fat monkey."

Randall Simon, who believes he was the target of Rocker's "fat monkey" comment, said Wednesday he is ready to forgive.

"If he comes to me and apologizes, everything will be all right," Simon said. "He's one of my teammates. Everybody makes mistakes."

Simon said he hopes Rocker will address the team as a whole, as well as offer him a personal apology.

"I think he should because of what happened and what he said about me," Simon said. "He should give me some respect. I think I deserve an apology so we can move on."

Brian Jordan, another of Rocker's harshest critics, said Rocker has to change his ways. Many Braves thought the reliever was out of line in seeking the limelight last October.

"He has to be more mature dealing with certain situations and dealing with his teammates," Jordan said. "He has to learn to control his anger. I think that's a big reason he said what he said."

The players' association filed a grievance against Selig, arguing the penalty was too great when compared with past discipline by the commissioner's office. The union repeatedly has succeeded in convincing arbitrators to overturn or reduce suspensions.

Selig's original penalty was believed to be the longest against a baseball player for an action not related to drug use since Lenny Randle of Texas got 30 days in March 1977 for punching his manager, Frank Lucchesi.

The 25-year-old reliever was heavily criticized by Atlanta civic officials and even teammates. But since training camp opened, some Braves have said they would be willing to forgive Rocker if he showed remorse through his words and actions. Braves owner Ted Turner said he deserved a second chance.

"My feeling is I would rather deal with it now, when the outcome of the games doesn't matter, than have it drop on us right dab in the middle of the season," Glavine said. "We still have to exercise some patience. It's already getting old, and even if he gets here tomorrow or Friday, it's not going to go away for a while."

Rocker was repeatedly taunted by New York Mets' fans during the pennant race and NL championship series, and then by New York Yankees' fans during the World Series. Several fans threw objects at the pitcher and some spit at him.

In his most extensive comments since the furor began, Rocker told ESPN in December he had lost his cool in the magazine interview and said things he didn't mean about New York fans because he wanted "to inflict some emotional pain in retaliation to the pain that had been inflicted on me."

"We want to give him a chance to explain himself," said Glavine, among the Braves players who met in January to discuss Rocker's plight. "The mindset of the group was John should have a chance to explain himself and show that the way he was portrayed in the article was not his real mindset."


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JimF@Bronx-Bombers.com

Ansky39's Neighbor's Best Friend's 9th Cousin, Twice Removed.

CalifYanksFan
03-01-00, 04:17 PM
What do you want to bet Rocker ultimately learns nothing from this and comes back as big an a**hole as he was before?

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Russ
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yankeeg
03-01-00, 05:03 PM
I never wanted the guy banned but you have to do something.

Regular season games reduced by 50%
Fine reduced by 97.5%

Good job arbitrator.

Rocker deserves whatever he gets from his teammates, players and the fans. I'm not condoning tossing copper top batteries either. BTW, to those who don't know, Duracell makes those. http://www.Bronx-Bombers.com/ubb/smile.gif

Let's Play Ball!!
26 in the double-zip

Kimmie
03-01-00, 05:56 PM
WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND

He will get his another way!

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of The Ansky39 Fan Club!
Second in Command

yanksgirl24
03-01-00, 10:02 PM
i still don't know what to think about this whole mess. sure rocker was an idiot for opening his mouth. he should get punished, which he is. but what sort of punishment fits that crime? his crime is being completely ignorant. how do you punish that? $20,000 was steep, but i agreed with the suspension from playing. like cyf said, he probably won't learn anything from this. no fine or suspension will change the way he thinks. you can only hope he learned something from this, even if it is just to put his foot in his mouth.

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pres. of the bthl fan club

I am sad to see you go but keep your hopes up and something good will happen to you. Don't go out there not knowing what you want or people will take advantage of you, so take charge and be on your merry way.
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yankoholics anonymous
03-02-00, 02:25 AM
http://www.bergen.com/icons/whitecom.gif http://www.bergen.com/sports/icons/spflag.gif

Trying to undo'damage'

Thursday, March 2, 2000

EDITOR'S NOTE -- Atlanta Braves reliever John Rocker wrote this exclusive column for Thursday's editions of The Atlanta Constitution.
On Wednesday an arbitrator cut Rocker's
suspension from 28 to 14 days, allowed him to attend spring training, and reduced his fine from $20,000 to $500:

In a December issue of Sports Illustrated, I made several comments of which I am ashamed.

In reading the article, I realized that in three major areas, I have hurt people. It was unintentional, but nevertheless, there was damage done.

First, I used foul language, and I owe an apology to the children and families who see baseball players as role models. I've been a poor example. I was not raised that way, and that kind of language is not used where I come from.

Secondly, my comments concerning several different groups have left people wondering if I'm a racist. I'm not a racist, although I can understand how someone who did not know me could think that.

Over a three-year period, at my invitation, my homein Macon has been a home where players from different ethnic groups and countries have lived for as long as five months and as short as two weeks.

The family of my best friend is first generation Lebanese. His grandfather came through Ellis Island.

As you can see, my actions do not support the racist label, but my thoughtless words do show that sometimes lack the understanding to see th problems that other people face. I apologize to all of those my careless and unkind comments have affected.

Finally, my comments concerning my team were
totally unprofessional and out of line. To the Braves management, to Bobby Cox and to the entire team, I am extremely sorry for the stress and confusion I have brought on the entire Braves organization.

An apology is no more than just words unless it is followed by actions. I hope in this coming year I may somehow redeem myself. A 97-year-old widow of a Baptist minister sent me this piece of advice, a motto she suggests I say daily: "Thoughts unexpressed
sometimes fall back dead, but even God himself can't kill them when they are said."

I think I need to take her advice.

Copyright 2000 Bergen Record Corp
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Y.A

orangemom
03-02-00, 07:27 AM
Who do you suppose wrote that for him? I doubt he did it himself. I also find it amusing, that there's no concern for the people in New York that he offended with his ridiculous remarks. He has learned nothing.

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President and founder of the Ansky39 fan club
I Haven't Lost My Mind, It's Backed Up On Disk Somewhere

seahorse
03-02-00, 03:03 PM
It's a travesty! You're a bum John Rocker! A bum!

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A39FC
Best GoYanks!

Bluesexy's daddy
03-02-00, 07:17 PM
I agree that john rocker is a bum. He is a total fool for saying what he did. Not because the political hacks and self proclaimed champions of "minorities" disagree with him, but because he hurt the feelings of a lot of young children.

While I absolutely disagree with his statements I still support his right to freedom of speach.

In my (apparently unpopular) opinion I do not think MLB should have taken action beyond condeming his statements.

It is easy to support the first amendment of the constitution in support of a popular position. It is a bit more painfull to do so in defense of a moron like john rocker.

I am not trying to aggravate anyone, but I think that john rocker should enjoy the right of free speech. I think that we all should. Censorship is the enemy of freedom and the friend of tyrany.

Will I cheer for john rocker? NOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Will I exercise my own freedom of speach and send him a letter telling him that I think he did a great diservice to baseball and the country, and that he hurt a lot of children with his big mouth? I already did.

Will I boo loudly for him with MY freedom of speach? You bet I will.

The only positive side to this is that his presence in the Atlanta club house can not possibly help the Braves as a team. If they are slightly weaker because of him then I am happy for it.

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If you don't like the YANKEES go to another sight.

yanksgirl24
03-03-00, 11:10 PM
is it just me, or does anyone else find it hard to believe rocker talked to a 97 year old widow of a baptist minister?

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bthl's #1 fan
pres. of the bthl fan club

I am sad to see you go but keep your hopes up and something good will happen to you. Don't go out there not knowing what you want or people will take advantage of you, so take charge and be on your merry way.
CB 6/99

jg2
03-04-00, 08:28 PM
I really dislike Rocker. What makes him think that is ok? Now he is probably going to do it again. He had no right to say those things.
I think when someone says something,
they should stick to it.

Do you agree?

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