On David Ortiz Needing Remedial Decency Training

Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz, who reiterated Tuesday that he will retire after the season, says that he considered his conduct, particularly off the field, as perhaps his most proud achievement.

— Bob Nightengale, David Ortiz: “I was never trying to be a role model,” USA Today, 2/23/16

The main takeaway from Bob Nightengale’s interview with David Ortiz published yesterday is that the BoSox star is not a DH — he’s a DHB: a Deficient Human Being. Let’s consider the off-the-field verbal conduct he engages in here.

“These are good guys, I feel so bad for them,’’ Ortiz said.

The good guys Ortiz is referencing there? The three ballplayers currently under investigation for violating MLB’s new domestic violence policy. In particular, Ortiz defends recently “suspended” player Jose Reyes. About that situation, the slugger says:

“It was something that got out of control, but only he and his wife know exactly what happened. People already are making a judgement on him.”

Well, actually, we all know that what exactly happened was that security was called to the Reyes’ room, the guards called 911 to report the incident and the police arrested Reyes at the scene — oh, and Katherine Reyes was treated for injuries from the altercation, which means at some point it turned physical. Jose Reyes was not treated for any injuries.

Despite the fact that Reyes apparently did get physical with his wife, Ortiz says people shouldn’t judge him:

“I just don’t think that’s fair. Give him a chance.”

Of course the implication here is that you shouldn’t give the victim a chance — that she’s not a “good guy” who deserves to be believed, defended, and given the benefit of the doubt like Jose. Why not? Obviously, because she’s not part of the boy’s club. She’s the accuser. She’s the “bad guy.”

Here’s the truth about domestic violence situations: it isn’t easy to call the police on your partner. Think about it — how hard would it be for you to report your parent or child…or spouse? It’s a big thing, and women in Katherine Reyes’ situation don’t do it lightly. She’s been in a relationship with Jose since 2003. They have kids together. She knows what it would mean for him to be arrested — her whole life would be upended as well as his if he’s convicted. If she called for help from her hotel room, she definitely felt like the situation was out of control and she needed assistance.

So, she called for help, and the police came — but now she has to listen to DHB’s like Ortiz — who was also not in that room and is not an expert on DV (and we aren’t even sure really knows the Reyes family well) — spouting his uninformed defense of “the accused” and belittling her complaint. Let’s be clear, her complaint is that the man who is supposed to protect her caused her physical injury. This is not smack talk. This is not a Twitter insult or Facebook post calling him names. This is serious — it was a cry for help. Ortiz doesn’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation (because he is a DHB), and maybe what he needs to do off the field for his retirement tour is learn to STFU.

DECENCY LESSON 101:  If you are in an altercation that escalates, leave immediately to protect your safety if possible. If you are involved in an argument that gets hostile, DO NOT strike or physically assault the other person. If someone assaults you, leave immediately to protect your safety if possible. If that someone is smaller and/or weaker than you, THERE IS NO EXCUSE EVER TO STRIKE THEM BACK. WORDS NEVER NECESSITATE VIOLENCE.


10 thoughts on “On David Ortiz Needing Remedial Decency Training

    1. yet, my team’s radio announcer (the number 2 guy) slobbers al over him, including breathlessly coming out of tweeting hibernation to say the A’s will be the last non AL east stop on his farwell tour!


  1. “Of course the implication here is that you shouldn’t give the victim a chance”

    Why don’t we give the victim a chance?

    What you wrote is part of it–I believe sexism is a part of it–but part of it is the culture of victim blaming. We blame victims of crimes because we want to believe that we are in control of our lives. Studies show that victims of crimes even blame themselves. “I shouldn’t have provoked him.” “I shouldn’t have walked through that neighborhood late at night.” “I shouldn’t have left my window open.” “I shouldn’t have worn that short dress.” This is rooted in the belief of a just world, or the belief in karma, or what goes around comes around. It helps us think, it will never be me. I’m in control.

    We are not in control. It’s an illusion. Nicely written.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, this is a huge part of it. It really helps people psychologically to believe they are in control of things, that they have choices, that their vote matters, etc. The illusion of control is nearly as important to psychological health as control itself.


    2. I stayed up all night reading Helter Skelton once when I was younger. My takeaway was: the thing that protects you most from someone breaking into your house is no one wanting to break in. If they want to, there really isn’t anything that will stop them. Locks make us feel better but they don’t keep anyone out who really wants in. (And this was reaffirmed for me years later when someone broke into my place.)


  2. I have to be honest about this and I gotta agree that he is not a spokesperson for this.
    I have the sad feeling about this. THIS is why you should never meet your heroes!


  3. Very well said. Women who are married to or involved with athletes are also immediately assumed to be heartless gold diggers by the knuckle dragging segment of athletes, fans and media people.

    Liked by 1 person

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