DETROIT - On Monday, Major League Baseball suspended Tigers' outfielder Delmon Young for seven days without pay following his arrest on a hate crime harassment charge last week in New York.
For sure, it was uncharted waters for MLB. But Commissioner Bud Selig got it right. The details of his arrest -- a late-night, drunken fight at his hotel -- are frightening. During the fight, according to police, Young yelled anti-Semitic epithets.
Young will lose about $257,240 of his $6,725,000 salary for this season. He's eligible to be reinstatement from the restricted list May 4.
"Those associated with our game should meet the responsibilities and standards that stem from our game's stature as a social institution," Selig said in a statement. An incident like this cannot and will not be tolerated. I understand that Mr. Young is regretful, and it is my expectation that he will learn from this unfortunate episode."
Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told the media at Comerica Park on Monday that Young wouldn't appeal the suspension and will not face anymore discipline by the team when he's eligible to play again.
"He'll be activated and ready to play on Friday," Dombrowski said. "If he's not in the lineup, that will be the manager's decision. He's been working out over the weekend and took batting practice (Monday), so he'll be physically ready on Friday."
The Tigers have stuck by Young, despite the ugly details of the fight that took place around 2:30 a.m. early Friday. According to police, Young was standing outside the team hotel in New York. Nearby, a group of about four Chicago tourists staying at the hotel were approached by a panhandler wearing a yarmulke and Star of David around his neck.
Police said Young started yelling anti-Semitic epithets at the man after the group walked up to the hotel doors.
Then, somehow, Young and the group, got into a scuffle in the hotel. A 32-year-old man in the group sustained scratches to his elbows, according to police and the criminal complaint.
The police were called. Young was arrested. He was first taken to a hospital because he was believed to be intoxicated, police said.
The next day, Young apologized to his teammates and fans in a statement.
Apparently, the Tigers are cool with it. But will fans be OK with Young's embarrassing and shocking behavior.
If you listened to sports-talk radio, some fans don't want him on the Tigers anymore. And with good reason. The details are shocking, to say the least.
Some fans say it will be hard to root for a guy who harbors should hate for a particular group of people.
Others say it's a one-time situation and he should simply be forgiven.
The Tigers, trying to win a World Series, need Young in the lineup to bat fifth behind Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera. You just wonder if a lesser player would have
been released after such an incident.
It's not that Young can't make a mistake. People make mistakes all the time. And yes, he has a right to earn a living. But it's not a birthright that you have to earn a living playing baseball. Players represent more than just themselves when they wear a team's uniform. At all times, they represent MLB, the team, the fans and more importantly, the city in which they play.
Some thought there would be no suspension and he would be in the lineup Monday after being cleared by MLB's doctors after his evaluation. That would have been too soon. There had to be a penalty for his actions.
The Tigers are taking a chance of turning Jewish fans off to the franchise for sticking by Young, who has had anger issues in the past. It will be interesting to see how fans react to him when he comes up to bat for the first time after this debacle.
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