Last night, after the Pirates and Reds battled for 14 innings, Brandon Phillips took to Twitter to complain about something much more important than baseball games:
It looked like Phillips was referring to the words that were exchanged between himself and Jared Hughes after Hughes hit Phillips on the thigh. Getting Blanked has the screenshots of the moment as the two jawed at each other.
It was shaping up to be quite the messy situation that Major League Baseball was going to have to get involved in. While tempers often flare on the ballfield, there is no room in society or sports for ignorant, racist, sexist, or homophobic language or insults.
Fortunately, it appears that there was a misunderstanding between the two players. Today, with Andrew McCutchen as an intermediary, Phillips and Hughes spoke. Said Phillips after the three spoke:
“We reached out, and me and Mr. Hughes had a great conversation before I came to the stadium today. It was the best thing that ever happened, just talking to him about what happened, talking to him about things that I heard and stuff.
“It was great to hear what he had to say and him to hear what I had to say. It made us both feel better about the situation. I respect him as a player and a man from the conversation we had.
“It was just a big misunderstanding. When you say certain things in the heat of the moment, you really don’t mean it. You forgive people. He forgave me. I forgive him. It’s the baseball family. I love him as a brother.”
And I certainly hope that this is the case. Phillips is an outspoken and honest player, and after his tweets from last night, I don’t think he would publicly forgive Hughes just to help smooth things over and give the game a nice PR sheen.
But while this story ends on a happy note, I think it’s an important reminder that racism is still extremely prevalent in this country and it doesn’t always check its bags at the door of sports and entertainment. Jared Hughes may not be a racist, but just as we all have ignorant family members or co-workers, there are surely baseball players and people in the game that are racist, as well. And pretending that the problem doesn’t exist isn’t going to help anyone.
If there’s one thing to take away from this blog that isn’t jokes about Brett Wallace’s backside it’s this: be good to each other. It’s not that hard.