I can’t do it, I just can’t do it.” This statement was made by Sean Doolittle, pitcher for the World Series Champion Washington Nationals. It was a response to the invitation to visit Mr. Trump and the White House. Showing his humanity, integrity and character (traits sorely lacking in the political circles of Washington D.C.), reflected his upbringing. As he told the New York Times, “When I was a kid, I remember my parents would say, ‘Baseball is what you do, but that’s not who you are.'” That he felt that the current administration’s policies and rhetoric had widened the divide in this country, and in good conscience, (another trait, absent from the halls of Congress these days), could not attend.
Many professional athletes, as well as other celebrities, address social issues, through financial donations, setting up foundations, or volunteering and speaking out for causes close to their hearts. Sean is one of the many fortunate individuals to be able to do that. To generalize about wealthy, snobby movie stars or spoiled athletes, especially when they choose to be outspoken, is to take a myopic and cynical view of these people.
It should be remembered that these individuals, who may be known by face and profession in the social media, are also compassionate human beings, who may in their own private lives, also face certain difficulties—whose lives may have been or presently are touched by the numerous problems that confront us all.
Most pitchers are not known for their hitting acumen—they do one thing well, they pitch. Most athletes won’t be remembered for their statistics, which is reserved for a very small group. But Sean Doolittle has exemplified through his words and actions what it means to live by certain principles, about crossing that line—and that has nothing to do with record books. But his decision has surely made him the most valuable player of this 2019 World Series. He has hit a tape-measured home run right out of the park!
We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write [email protected].