From USA Today

Comments About Rocker Confuse Free Speech

  The comments from reader Joe Lupariello regarding baseball's John
Rocker just put me over the top("Commentardy on Rocker lacks
much-needed backbone",Letters,Thursday(Feb.4)).
  Lupariello says he is defending the right of those who want to
criticize Rocker. The problem is Rocker's critics don't want to just
criticize him,they want to punish him.
  Virtually all of the comments I have read call for punishment or even
banishment from the sport. This is exactly what the First Amendment is
supposed to protect us from.
  Lupariello also says that you can judge a person's character by the
battles he chooses to fight. He then goes on to condemn USA TODAY
commentary writer Michael Medved for arguing on behalf of Rocker's
free-speech rights("Pop critics:Do as we say,John Rocker,not as we
do",Forum,Jan.24). What liberal hyprocrisy!
  All of these years,I though the liberals really meant it when they
defended pornography. They said it was evil but that it had to be
tolerated to protect free speech.
  After the Rocker contorversy,and after following the logic in
Lupariello's letter,I realize now that they must defend it simply
because they like it.

  Michael Geske

Guest Editorial

   No one is disputing that John Rocker is free to say whatever he wishes,
however ignorant it may be. But, Michael is wrong when says it's a free speech
issue - it's not. The First Amendment only protects thegovernment from abridging
our freedom of speech, among other things-and the last I checked, Major League
Baseball did not suddenly become part of the government.

   Also, neither the local, state or federal authorities threw Rocker in jail for commiting
the horrific crime of opening his mouth and sticking his foot in it.
Baseball, however, is a different story. It is a private enterprise,and they are entitled to
conduct their business as they wish....and that includes suspending and/or fining Rocker.

   Let me put a challenge to you, Michael:if you or I went on record saying the same things
Rocker did-and it was on the record-count how long it would be before you were fired
from your job. I'd be willing to guess it wouldn't be too long.
   And,as for the assertion that liberals defend pornography "simply because they like it",
how would you know? Did you actually talk to any "liberals"?
Or did you just pull that out of your hat?

   In trying to score a home run with your arguement,you barely got an infield fly out of it.
Well, Michael, there's always next time.


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